Watchful Waiting for Germ Cell Tumors

When a benign germ cell tumor located outside the brain causes no or few symptoms, an NYU Langone doctor may recommend watchful waiting, in which he or she simply monitors your child’s condition. The doctor does not prescribe treatment until symptoms appear or change.

Typically, watchful waiting is recommended for small, benign tumors or small, slow-growing malignant tumors that haven’t spread to other areas of the body. These tumors include some ovarian and testicular germ cell tumors, usually those smaller than 3 centimeters.

During this observation period, your child may have periodic imaging tests. Every few months, the doctor may order CT scans, which use X-rays to produce images, and ultrasounds, which use sound waves to create images. If any changes occur, such as growth or new symptoms, the doctor may recommend chemotherapy or surgery.

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