Talking to Your Health Care Provider about Brain Tumors
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or health care provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with brain tumors. By talking openly and regularly with your health care provider, 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 health care provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out 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 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 Health Care Provider
About Brain Tumors
- What type of brain tumor do I have?
What are the statistics on my type of brain tumor?
- What is the cure rate?
- Resulting disabilities?
- Life expectancy?
- Am I likely to get another brain tumor?
- If so, how often should I look for a recurrence?
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?
- If I am to receive treatment that is likely to cause nausea and vomiting, may I have the best prevention available?
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?
- What types of changes in cognitive and other brain functions should I expect?
- How can we minimize the risk of those changes?
- How can I manage living with those changes?
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?
- 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?
American Brain Tumor Association
National Cancer Institute
Last reviewed February 2003 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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