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Brain Tumors:  Critical Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Brain Tumors: Critical Questions to Ask Your Doctor

By Vikram C. Prabhu, MD, FAANS, FACS, Associate Professor and Interim Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, Loyola University Medical Center


1. What kind of tumor do I have?

2. Where is it located?

3. What are the best treatment options?

4. If surgery is recommended:

Please describe the surgery.

What are the risks and benefits?

Will you be able to remove the entire tumor?

How will the surgery affect my cognitive and motor abilities?

Will I have any personality changes?

How long will I be in the hospital?

Will I need physical, occupational or cognitive therapy?

How long before I can return to work and normal activities?

What is your expertise in this surgery?

Are you board certified?

How many cases of this nature do you do each year?

What are your outcomes for this type of surgery?

5. Will I need radiation?

What kind of radiation will I need?

How many sessions will it take?

What are the side effects?

6. Will I need chemotherapy?

What type of chemotherapy and how is it administered?

What are the side effects?

7. What other medications will I need?

What are their side effects?

8. Am I eligible for any clinical trials?

9. Do you evaluate my case with other physicians in a tumor board?

10. Can you recommend anyone I could see to get a second opinion?

11. What will happen if I decide to not have surgery or other treatment?

12. Do you have any reading material on my condition?

13. Can you recommend any reliable websites?

14. Do you have adequate social support systems in place to help me after surgery or other treatments?

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