Meningioma: Follow-Up Care

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after treatment for meningioma is completed and why this follow-up care is important. Use the menu to see other pages.

Care for people diagnosed with meningioma does not end when active treatment has finished. Your health care team will continue to check that the tumor has not come back, manage any side effects, and monitor your overall health. This is called follow-up care.

Your follow-up care may include regular physical examinations, medical tests, or both. Doctors want to keep track of your recovery in the months and years ahead.

People treated for a 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. People treated for either kind of meningioma will typically need regular, repeated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans of the brain during their follow-up care, 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 needed for follow-up care varies widely from patient to patient. Your follow-up care plan will be determined by your oncologist or neuro-oncologist.

Rehabilitation may be recommended, and this could mean any of a wide range of services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, career counseling, pain management, nutritional planning, and/or emotional counseling. The goal of rehabilitation is to help people regain control over many aspects of their lives and remain as independent as possible. Learn more about rehabilitation.

Learn more about the importance of follow-up care.

Watching for recurrence

One goal of follow-up care is to check for a recurrence, which means that the tumor has come back. 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 ask specific questions about your health.

The anticipation before having a follow-up test or waiting for test results may add stress to you or a family member. This is sometimes called “scanxiety.” Learn more about how to cope with this type of stress.

Managing long-term and late side effects

Most people expect to have 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. Other side effects called late effects may develop months or even years after treatment has ended. 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 therapy or occupational therapy, counseling with a social worker, or prescription medications that can help reduce fatigue or improve memory.

Talk with your doctor about your risk of developing such side effects based on your diagnosis, your individual treatment plan, and your overall health. If you had a treatment known to cause specific late effects, you may 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 discuss any concerns you have about your future physical or emotional health. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) offers forms to help keep track of the treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan when treatment is completed.

This is also a good time to talk with your doctor about who will lead your follow-up care. Some survivors continue to see their oncologist, while others transition back to the care of their primary care doctor or another health care professional. This decision depends on several factors, including the type and grade of meningioma, treatments received, 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 them and with 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. It describes how to cope with challenges in everyday life after a diagnosis of meningioma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.