A brain tumor diagnosis may initially feel like the end of the world. However, between the numerous available brain tumor treatments and cancer support groups, patients have an abundance of resources to help with physical and emotional recovery.
After the Brain Tumor Diagnosis
After receiving a brain tumor diagnosis, you may feel scared and anxious, but making a list of questions for your medical team can help to ease some of your fears and make you an active participant in your care. Consider bringing along a friend or family member for support; it may be difficult to remember answers to your questions when faced with such a life-altering diagnosis.
You may want to ask and write down answers to several questions, including:
- Can I continue with my daily routines?
- Can the tumor be surgically removed?
- How do I choose the best doctor and hospital?
- How soon do I need treatment?
- Where is the brain tumor located?
Also ask your doctor for any printed information and educational resources that may help you and your loved ones understand your brain tumor diagnosis, such as:
- Fact sheets
- Medication cards
Many of these resources are printed in different languages, so don’t be afraid to ask for a particular translation. Bring along a calendar and notebook to all of your appointments to record answers to your questions, instructions for your tests and treatments, and for scheduling future visits.
Choosing Brain Tumor Treatments
Before you decide on a treatment plan, you may want to (or be required to, for insurance reasons) get a second opinion. Your doctor or insurance provider can often recommend a specialist who will take a look at your medical records and give his opinion on the best treatment for your brain tumor. Before you embark on the involved process of obtaining copies of your records and finding a consulting doctor, make sure the delay in treatment won’t adversely affect your health.
Once you choose a doctor, you will need to decide which treatments to employ. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of each type of treatment so you can plan ahead for support.
Help with Cancer and Brain Tumors
When dealing with cancer and brain tumors, improving quality of life both during and after treatment is very important. Eating healthy meals and getting plenty of rest goes a long way towards promoting healing and recovery. Also, if friends and family offer help, this is the time to accept it. Many of the complications from treatment and fatigue during recovery may make it difficult to perform normal day-to-day duties. Let your loved ones help out by shopping for goods and food, cooking or cleaning.
Some foundations also provide valuable support services, including:
- Meal services
- Monetary assistance for medical bills and financial grants
- Visits to offer emotional support.
These types of foundations often also offer a wide variety of brain tumor and cancer support groups. Support groups may be in person or online, and offer a safe place for patients and family members to express concerns, fears and questions. Other support options include enlisting the help of a counselor or psychologist to help deal with the emotional aspect of a brain tumor diagnosis.
American Society of Clinical Oncology Staff. (2010). Palliative care. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from the Cancer.net website: http://www.cancer.net/patient/All About Cancer/Treating Cancer/Palliative Care.
San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation Staff. (n.d.). How we can help. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation website: http://www.sdbtf.org/how-we-help.html.
American Brain Tumor Association Staff. (2007). Living with a brain tumor. Retrieved May 6, 2010, from the American Brain Tumor Association website: http://www.abta.org/siteFiles/SitePages/9346E8C11554938FFB49915D6B08FB5D.pdf.