ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after treatment for meningioma is completed, and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.
Care for people diagnosed with meningioma doesn’t end when active treatment has finished. Your health care team will continue to check to make sure the tumor has not returned, manage any side effects, and monitor your overall health. This is called follow-up care.
This plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years. People treated for benign meningioma typically have yearly follow-up visits with a neurosurgeon or neuro-oncologist. People with a more aggressive tumor may need checkups more often and ongoing medical care after recovery from surgery.
Learn more about the importance of follow-up care.
Watching for recurrence
One goal of follow-up care is to check for a recurrence. Meningioma recurs because small areas of tumor cells may remain undetected in the body. Over time, these cells may increase in number until they show up on test results or cause signs or symptoms. During follow-up care, a doctor familiar with your medical history can give you personalized information about your risk of recurrence. Your doctor will also ask specific questions about your health.
People who were diagnosed with meningioma are routinely monitored for new symptoms with regular MRI scans as well as physical examinations. If radiation therapy was given to the pituitary gland, evaluations of hormone levels may be needed. The frequency of the checkups and scans varies widely from patient to patient; your plan will be determined by your oncologist or neuro-oncologist.
Managing long-term and late side effects
Most people expect to experience side effects when receiving treatment. However, it is often surprising to survivors that some side effects may linger beyond the treatment period. These are called long-term side effects. In addition, other side effects called late effects may develop months or even years afterwards. Long-term and late effects can include both physical and emotional changes.
Meningioma and its treatments can affect the functioning of the brain as well as your daily well-being. For this reason, it is sometimes helpful for the health care team to monitor your quality of life and evaluate your cognitive (thought-process) abilities through specialized tests, often given by a neuropsychologist. A neuropsychologist is a psychologist who studies causes of brain disorders and specializes in diagnosing and treating these disorders using mostly a medical approach. These evaluations could identify certain problems that may benefit from specific therapies, such as speech or occupational therapy, counseling with a social worker, or prescription medications that can help to reduce fatigue or improve memory.
Talk with your doctor about your risk of developing such side effects based on the type of tumor, your individual treatment plan, and your overall health. If you had a treatment known to cause specific late effects, you may also have certain physical examinations, scans, or blood tests to help find and manage them.
Keeping personal health records
You and your doctor should work together to develop a personalized follow-up care plan. Be sure to ask about any concerns you have about your future physical or emotional health. ASCO offers forms to help create a treatment summary to keep track of the treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.
This is also a good time to decide who will lead your follow-up care. Some survivors continue to see their oncologist, while others transition back to the general care of their family doctor or another health care professional. This decision depends on several factors, including the type and grade of meningioma, side effects, health insurance rules, and your personal preferences.
If a doctor who was not directly involved in your care for meningioma will lead your follow-up care, be sure to share your treatment summary and survivorship care plan forms with him or her, as well as all future health care providers. Details about your treatment are very valuable to the health care professionals who will care for you throughout your lifetime.
The next section in this guide is Survivorship and it describes how to cope with challenges in everyday life after a diagnosis of meningioma. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.