Recovering from the Effects of the Brain or Spinal Cord Tumor and Its Treatment

The tumor and its treatment can have physical and mental effects, which can range from very mild to fairly severe.

Once you have recovered from treatment, your doctors will try to determine if damage was done to the brain or other areas. Careful physical exams and imaging tests (CT or MRI scans) might be done to determine the extent and location of any long-term changes in the brain.

Several types of doctors and other health professionals might help look for these changes and help you recover.

  • A neurologist (a doctor who specializes in medical treatment of the nervous system) may assess your physical coordination, muscle strength, and other aspects of nervous system function.
  • If you have muscle weakness or paralysis, you will be seen by physical and/or occupational therapists and perhaps a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation) while in the hospital and/or as an outpatient for physical therapy.
  • If your speech is affected, a speech therapist will help you improve communication skills.
  • If needed, an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specializes in eye problems) will check your vision, and an audiologist may check your hearing.
  • After surgery, you may also see a psychiatrist or psychologist to determine the extent of any changes caused by the tumor or surgery. If you get radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy, this process may be repeated again after treatment is finished.
  • If you were treated with surgery or radiation therapy for a tumor near the base of the brain, pituitary hormone production may be affected. You might be seen by an endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in hormone disorders). If hormone levels are affected, you might need hormone treatments to restore normal levels for the rest of your life.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: March 5, 2014 Last Revised: January 21, 2016

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.