Lifestyle Changes to Manage Brain Tumors
Talk to your neurosurgeon, neurologist, or neuro-oncologist about the kinds changes your tumor is likely to bring about. Although your team will do everything possible to treat your condition appropriately, many times there are permanent effects of the tumor and/or treatment. It is important that you understand both the potential short-term and long-terms effects of a brain tumor and the necessary treatment. The location of a brain tumor gives very accurate information on what brain functions are at risk. Below are some of the issues you may need to address.
Managing Seizures (Convulsions)
Of concern with every brain tumor is the likelihood of
Ask your doctor for a referral to a local support group that can assist you with rides, as well as help with activities that may now be hazardous for you, such as mowing your lawn. Your employer may have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to reassign you to new tasks if your job requires managing heavy or hazardous equipment or supplies. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer must make accommodations for you.
Managing Loss of Coordination or Function
If the tumor is near one of the areas in your brain that controls movement of a certain part of your body—such as hands, arms, legs, eyes, speech—normal function and coordination may be affected. Usual activities may become dangerous, such as working with power tools or knives. For most functions, rehabilitation can help with some return of function. After treatment is completed, or at least well under way, you may start a program of speech, occupational, or physical therapy to work on recovering what has been lost.
Managing Cognitive Dysfunction
Thought processes, such as memory, calculation, understanding, and intelligence, may deteriorate until the tumor is treated effectively. Let those close to you know that you may have trouble in these areas. Ask them to be on the lookout for changes and to help minimize any consequences from these changes.
Managing Personality Change
In the same manner, your personality may change. If you feel comfortable, advise your family, friends, and employer (if you are still working) of your condition. This may help to minimize misunderstandings. As with cognitive dysfunction, you may find that counseling, including family counseling, will help you manage the changes you are going through as a result of your illness and treatment.
When to Contact Your Doctor
You should be in continual contact with your doctor throughout your evaluation and treatment. Report anything new.
American Brain Tumor Association website. Available at: http://hope.abta.org/site/PageServer .
Harrison TR, Fauci AS. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
The Whole Brain Atlas website. Available at: http://www.med.harvard.edu/AANLIB/home.html.
Last reviewed February 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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