What should you ask your doctor about adult brain and spinal cord tumors?
It is 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. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Be sure to add your own questions as you think of them. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions.
- What kind of tumor do I have?
- Is the tumor benign or malignant? What does this mean?
- Where in the brain or spinal cord is the tumor and how far has it spread?
- Do I need to have other tests done before we can decide on treatment?
- Are you experienced in treating this type of tumor?
- What are my treatment choices? What do you recommend? Why?
- What is the goal of treatment (cure, prolonging life, relieving symptoms, etc.)?
- Will treatment relieve any of the symptoms I now have?
- What are the possible risks or side effects of treatment? What disabilities might I develop?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- How long will treatment take? What will it involve? Where will it be given?
- What is my expected prognosis (outlook)?
- What would we do if the treatment doesn't work or if the cancer recurs?
- What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
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 second opinions, as well as about qualifying for clinical trials.
Last Medical Review: 10/09/2012
Last Revised: 02/06/2013