Brain Cancer

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What You Need to Know

There are two main types of brain cancer. Primary brain cancer starts in the brain. Metastatic brain cancer starts somewhere else in the body and moves to the brain. Brain tumors can be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that grow quickly. Brain tumors can cause many symptoms. No one knows the exact causes of brain tumors. Doctors can seldom explain why one person develops a brain tumor and another does not.

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Seizures mild or severe. May include convulsions and disturbance of awareness
  • Weakness or paralysis of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Disturbed vision hearing or smell.

Understanding Brain Cancer

The word cancer refers to changes in the body’s cells that cause them to grow out of control. These cells can grow very fast and spread, eventually crowding out normal cells and damaging entire systems of the body.

Feel prepared for every appointment

Carrying the right information can empower you during your cancer care journey. Use these tools to help organize this information so you can be an active participant in your cancer care.

Keep them handy for use at home and bring them along to your doctor visits and other medical appointments.

#KnowCancer Tip

Update your information and checklist after each appointment to keep track of your progress and prepare for your next visit. Being organized is a key step in navigating your cancer care with confidence.

Essentials Checklist

  • Important Contacts: Include your healthcare team's phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Health and Treatment History: A brief summary of your diagnosis, treatment plans, and any past procedures or surgeries.
  • Copies of Reports: Bring recent blood tests, pathology reports, and any other relevant medical records.
  • Calendar: Your schedule of upcoming appointments, treatments, and tests.
  • Progress Notes: Observations about your symptoms, side effects, and any changes in your condition.
  • Questions: A list of questions or concerns you have for your healthcare provider. Don't hesitate to ask anything that's on your mind.
  • Insurance Information: Your insurance card and any necessary authorization forms or documents.

Reliable Links for Brain Cancer:

People Living with Cancer

What you can find here

People Living with Cancer has become and some of the simplest Brain Tumor information can be found here. On the left side of the page click on Cancer Types. Then scroll down in the middle of the page to Brain Tumor. They have information written in English and Spanish. Some sections are updated with a date but not all sections are dated. Information is provided by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Get a written diagnosis from your doctor and search on the terms you are given.

American Brain Tumor Association

What you can find here

American Brain Tumor Association offers tumor and treatment publications as well as educational programs. They have good, simple information and a primer that is useful. Most information is downloadable and in booklet format. Site requires registration for updates and access to some material. They do have an 800 phone number for support and additional information.

Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation
What you can find here

This is a wonderful resource for any parent dealing with a pediatric brain or spinal tumor. Their mission is to raise funds for scientific research; heighten public awareness of this most devastating disease; and improve prognosis and quality of life for those that are affected. They provide social and support services worldwide and help you deal with all the issues facing this devastating diagnosis.

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