Brain tumor treatment depends on a number of factors, including the type, location, size, and grade of the tumor, as well as the age and health of the patient. Your doctor can present your treatment options and tell you what to expect from each one.
Specialists who treat brain tumors include neurosurgeons, neurooncologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. In addition to the specialist, your treatment team may include other professionals such as a nurse, dietitian, mental health counselor, social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and/or speech therapist.
Many people with brain tumors want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care. They want to learn all they can about their disease and their treatment choices. Below are some questions you might want to ask your doctor:
- What type of brain tumor is it?
- Is it benign or malignant?
- What grade is my tumor?
- What are the treatment options? What do you recommend? Why?
- What are the benefits of each treatment option?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each option?
- What is the treatment likely to cost?
- How will treatment affect my everyday activities?
- Should I participate in a clinical trial/research study? If so, which one?
It is not necessary to ask all of these questions or to understand the answers all at one time. There will be other opportunities to ask your doctor to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more information.
Before starting treatment, you may want a second opinion about your diagnosis and treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion; others may cover a second opinion if the patient or doctor requests it.