After treatment, your doctors will explain a follow-up plan, including regular checkups and, very likely, CT or MRI scans, to make sure the tumor has not returned.
The surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation used to treat a brain tumor may cause a variety of side effects during and after treatment. For example, edema (tissue swelling) or the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (hydrocephalus) may occur after surgery. Steroids can reduce edema, but a second surgery may be needed to drain the fluid of hydrocephalus. Patients are also monitored for infections.
If treatments damage normal tissue, patients may have trouble thinking, seeing, or speaking. Personality changes or seizures are also possible. Most often, these problems are temporary, but brain damage can be permanent. Patients can be helped with physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Keep in mind that the side effects of a brain tumor that is out of control are almost always worse than the effects of the treatments.
In rehabilitation, a patient works with a team of therapists to speed recovery and the return to daily activities. Working with physical therapists helps patients regain strength and balance. Speech therapists help patients who may have trouble speaking or expressing thoughts, and occupational therapists work with patients in managing activities of everyday life such as eating and bathing. Social workers may assist with helping the patient and family manage the real-life issues that arise from having a brain tumor. Children with brain tumors may need tutors.
Last reviewed on 10/9/09
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