Questions to Ask About Brain Cancer
When facing brain cancer, these questions from the American Brain Tumor Association and the American Cancer Society will help you learn more about your condition so you can play an active role in planning your care.
The American Cancer Society observes, “It’s important for you to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. Feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team also answer many of your questions.”
What type of brain tumor is it?
Is it benign or malignant? What does this mean?
Where in the brain or spinal cord is the tumor and how far has it spread?
What grade (or stage) is my tumor?
Do I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
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 goal of treatment (cure, prolonging life, relieving symptoms, etc.)?
Will treatment relieve any of the symptoms I now have?
What is the treatment likely to cost?
How will treatment affect my everyday activities?
What should I do to be ready for treatment?
How long will treatment take? What will it be like? Where will it be given?
What is my expected prognosis (outlook)?
What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the tumor comes back?
What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
How much experience do you have treating this type of tumor?
Should I get a second opinion? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
Where can I find more information and support?
Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down any others you want to ask. For instance, you might want information about recovery times so that you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or, you might want to ask about clinical trials that might be right for you.
Make sure you understand the answers and are comfortable with the information you have received. You may want to bring a family member along to help you in the discussion with your doctor. It is your health – so don’t ever be afraid of asking questions or getting a second opinion to make sure that you are being treated appropriately.