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Talking to Your Doctor About Brain Tumors

En Español (Spanish Version)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Brain Tumors | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. It is important to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with brain tumors. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Brain Tumors

  • What are the statistics on my type of brain tumor?
    • Is it known what caused my type of brain tumor?
    • Will I have any disabilities?
    • What are the chances I will be able to care for myself, and for how long?

About Your Risk of Developing Brain Tumors

  • What are my chances of getting a tumor?
    • Given my exposure to radiation?
    • Given my exposure to possibly toxic chemicals?
    • Given my family medical history?

About Treatment Options

  • With this type of brain tumor, what are my treatment options?
  • Is one or a combination of treatments better for me than others?
  • What are the side effects of the different treatments?
  • What medications are available to me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any alternative or complimentary therapies that will help me?
  • How long will we plan to treat the tumor?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • Are there any dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
  • Should I begin an exercise program?
    • What kind of exercise is best?
    • How often should I exercise?
    • How do I get started exercising?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • What should I avoid doing until the treatment is over?
  • Should I give up driving?
  • What changes should I expect to make in my job?

About Outlook

  • What should I tell my family, friends, and employer?
  • Can you suggest some support organizations?
  • What is my expected prognosis?
  • How often will I need checkups?
  • What are the chances my brain tumor will come back?
  • Who can help me with finding a support group and getting legal assistance if I have trouble at my job?
 

References:

  • Brain tumor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 28, 2013. Accessed June 4, 2013.
  • Brain tumor. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/brain. Accessed June 4, 2013.
  • Support and resources. American Brain Tumor Association website. Available at: http://www.abta.org/care-treatment/support-resources/. Accessed June 5, 2013.

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