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Baylor Scott & White Neuro-Oncology Associates recommends the following resources for our patients seeking more information regarding their specific condition:

Scrubbing In: Hands-on Health Care Discussions

Current Trends in Brain Tumor Treatment Options

Each year, 20,000 new cases of primary brain tumor are diagnosed in the United States. According to Dr. Karen Fink, MD, a neurologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas a principal investigator with Baylor Research Institute, much of the new research in brain tumor treatment is focused on studying individual tumors at the molecular and genetic level.

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What to Ask Your Doctor

Patients with brain tumors face a unique set of challenges when seeking medical care. Treatment for brain tumors depends on a number of factors including the type, location, and size of the tumor as well as the patient's age and general health. 

If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor or spinal cord tumor, you most likely have a lot of questions and concerns about your treatment and prognosis. Don't rely on memory alone to get you through the initial doctor visits. Instead, make a list of questions beforehand and bring them to your appointments.

Taking a friend or family member with you will also help. And ask your doctor for brochures and other publications to take home.

Brain Tumor: 10 Important Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  1. What type of tumor do I have?  Knowing exactly what type of tumor you have guides all other steps in your journey. Find out whether you have a primary or metastatic spinal cord tumor or brain tumor. Primary means the tumor is located in the place it first developed and is not a result of cancer that has spread from another part of the body; metastatic means the cancer has spread to the brain or spinal cord from another part of the body. It's also important to find out the grade of your tumor. In general, the higher the number, the more aggressive the cancer.

  2. What is my prognosis?  Your doctor may not be able to definitively answer this question so early on, but he or she should be able to provide a general idea of your long-term outlook based on past experiences with other patients.

  3. What are my treatment options? Your treatment is determined by several factors, the most important being the type and location of the tumor and your overall health. Standard treatments include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

  4. How complex will my treatment be? Your doctor may recommend a single type of treatment or a combination based on your particular spinal cord or brain tumor. If you need chemotherapy, ask if you will be hospitalized or if it can be done on an outpatient basis. Discuss your family support and work circumstances to help your doctor make the best decisions for you.

  5. What type of treatment would you choose if you had my type of tumor? Your doctor has daily experience with brain tumors. Ask what he or she would do in your case.

  6. What are the side effects of treatments? Side effects vary from treatment to treatment and person to person. Your doctor can tell you what side effects you can expect based on your treatment plan and how to manage them.

  7. Should I get a second opinion concerning my tumor? Yes. There is never anything wrong with getting a second opinion. If your doctor objects, that's probably a good sign that you should.

  8. Can I get treated in my hometown or do I need to find a specialty hospital? Location and insurance requirements may put limitations on your care, but asking this question will help you determine the quality of care and the experience of those who will be providing that care for you. If you are not comfortable with the quality of care you will be receiving in your hometown, ask your doctor about what options you have for getting treated in a hospital that specializes in spinal cord or brain tumor treatment.

  9. Could I have prevented this? It is important to ask this question because so many people feel guilty, especially parents with children who have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Patients must know that it is not their fault, that nothing out there links to brain tumors to anything strongly genetic or to something they have done.

  10. Can I go on with my life? Ask your doctor how your diagnosis and treatment will affect your everyday life.

If, after your appointment, you think of something else you would like to know, don't hesitate to call your doctor. You and those supporting you have every right to be fully informed about your diagnosis and what lies ahead. 

Reference: This page was referenced from Everyday Health