100 Questions & Answers About Brain Tumors, Second Edition

100 Questions & Answers About Brain Tumors, Second Edition


Whether you??re a newly diagnosed brain tumor patient, a survivor, or a friend or relative of either, this book offers help. The Second edition of 100 Questions & Answers About Brain Tumors continues the same doctor-patient collaboration, providing authoritative, practical answers to your questions regarding diagnostic testing, treatment options, clinical trials, and much more. Dr. Stark-Vance and M.L. Dubay discuss the latest brain tumor therapies, including the new anti-angiogenesis drugs and brain tumor vaccines. New illustrations throughout the book, from pathology to PET scans, help the reader gain a clear understanding of how brain tumors differ and why these differences are important in making treatment decisions. 100 Questions & Answers About Brain Tumors, Second Edition is an invaluable resource for anyone coping with the physical and emotional turmoil of this frightening disease.

Table of contents

Title......Page 4
Copyright......Page 5
About the Cover......Page 6
Contents......Page 8
Preface......Page 12
Foreword......Page 14
Introduction......Page 18
Part One: The Basics......Page 30
1. What is a brain tumor?......Page 31
2. Why are there so many different types of brain tumors?......Page 33
3. Can any part of the brain have a tumor? Where in the brain do most brain tumors occur? Are there areas of the brain where it is more dangerous to have a tumor?......Page 34
4. How common are brain tumors? Is it true that brain tumors are more common in children than in adults?......Page 39
5. What causes a brain tumor?......Page 41
6. Are brain tumors inherited?......Page 44
Part Two: Diagnosis and Pathology......Page 52
7. What are the symptoms of brain tumors? Do all brain tumors cause headaches?......Page 53
8. Why does every doctor I see ask me so many questions about my symptoms, my previous illnesses, and my family history?......Page 55
9. What is a neurological examination?......Page 56
10. After my surgery, my surgeon told me that I have a brain tumor but says that he cannot tell me more about it until the pathology report is completed. What is a pathology report, and why is it so important?......Page 59
12. The surgeon explained to me that I have a fast-growing type of tumor, but I think my symptoms have been present for a long time. Is this possible? Should I get a second opinion from another pathologist to make sure that the diagnosis is correct? How do I do this?......Page 62
13. My doctor says that my tumor has a low proliferation index and that I may not need treatment right away. What is the proliferation index, and how does it determine my treatment?......Page 63
14. Several genetic studies and tests were done on my tumor, a malignant glioma. Which, if any, are important in my treatment and prognosis?......Page 64
16. How are metastatic tumors different from primary brain tumors?......Page 69
Part Three: Neuroimaging......Page 74
17. I had a seizure at work and was brought to the emergency room. I had a CT scan that was abnormal, but then the doctor also ordered an MRI scan. Why do I need both?......Page 75
18. How does an MRI work?......Page 78
19. I have had surgery and radiation therapy for a brain tumor. How often should I have a follow-up MRI scan?......Page 81
20. After my surgery 2 years ago, I have had MRI scans regularly that have been stable. My most recent scan shows a new abnormality near the location of the original tumor. What are the chances that this is a new tumor? How can I find out?......Page 90
21. What is a PET scan? Should I have one? Why does my doctor use MRI scans and not PET scans to evaluate my tumor?......Page 94
22. What is magnetic resonance spectroscopy? What does it tell my doctor about my tumor that the MRI does not?......Page 96
23. After radiation therapy and initial chemotherapy, I was surprised to see that my tumor actually looked larger than it did before treatment. I wasnt having any new symptoms, but my oncologist said one of two things might be happening: growth of the tumor despite my treatment or something called pseudoprogression. What is pseudoprogression?......Page 97
24. I have read that functional MRI can show the parts of the brain that control movement and speech. Do I need a functional MRI before my surgery?......Page 99
Part Four: Neurosurgery......Page 102
25. Is surgery necessary to diagnose a brain tumor?......Page 103
26. What are the potential complications of a neurosurgical procedure?......Page 105
27. I was taken to my local emergency room and told that I have a brain tumor. The neurosurgeon on call told me that I would need surgery right away. Should I get a second opinion before having an operation?......Page 106
28. Are there some brain tumors that can be surgically cured? Is a tumor that cannot be resected always incurable?......Page 108
29. I have seen two neurosurgeons about surgery for my brain tumor, and both say that my tumor can be safely removed. One of them says that he uses MRI guidance to remove the tumor. What does this mean? Is there an advantage to using MRI to remove the tumor?......Page 109
30. One of the people in my support group says that she had an awake craniotomy to remove her tumor. What is this procedure, and why did her neurosurgeon do this?......Page 110
31. My neurosurgeon said that if I have a certain type of tumor, he could place Gliadel wafers in the brain after he removes the tumor, but he said that he wont know until surgery what type of tumor I have and that I have to decide before surgery whether I want him to do this. If I have Gliadel wafers placed during my surgery, can I still have chemotherapy?......Page 116
32. At the time of my surgery, my neurosurgeon said that my entire tumor had been removed, but then he said that I would need more treatment to keep it from coming back. Why do I still need therapy if the malignant cells were removed?......Page 118
33. On my most recent MRI, my neurosurgeon told me that my tumor is growing back. I asked him whether I should have surgery again, but he told me that he would have to discuss with my other doctors what treatment I could have after surgery. Why does treatment after surgery have an impact on whether I should have a second craniotomy?......Page 119
34. My neurosurgeon suggested that I have physical therapy and occupational therapy to help me recover from my weakness after surgery. What is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy? Do I need both?......Page 120
Part Five: Radiation Therapy......Page 124
35. What is radiation therapy? Is radiation therapy given for every type of brain tumor?......Page 125
36. What are the side effects of radiation therapy?......Page 132
37. My tumor was completely resected, but I understand that there could still be microscopic tumor left behind. How does the radiation oncologist decide how much of the brain to radiate if nothing is visible on the MRI?......Page 136
38. What is the difference between stereotactic radiosurgery, CyberKnife, and Gamma Knife? How does my doctor determine which is appropriate for me?......Page 138
39. I have an anaplastic astrocytoma that was treated 4 years ago with radiation therapy. Last week, for the first time, my MRI showed two new areas of tumor, each about an inch in diameter. My radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon said that I could have Gamma Knife to zap them; however, I have been reading a lot on the Internet, and it seems that my tumor is not usually treated with Gamma Knife. Why not?......Page 141
40. I have seen two radiation oncologists. One says that he uses three-dimensional imaging to plan treatment. He says this targets the tumor more precisely, which makes the treatment safer. The other radiation oncologist says that only the total dose of radiation determines the extent of side effects. Whos right?......Page 142
41. My doctor told me that I have a rare tumor, a chordoma, which is near the base of the skull. He suggested that I consider proton beam therapy. What is proton beam therapy, and why is it used?......Page 144
43. I had a biopsy of a tumor in my left hemisphere that measures 2 X 2 centimeters. The biopsy determined the tumor was a low-grade astrocytoma. I have seen a radiation oncologist who suggested immediate radiation therapy. When I got a second opinion from another radiation oncologist, he suggested that radiation therapy could be delayed for a few years. Why are the recommendations so different?......Page 145
44. Losing part of my hair during radiation therapy has been very hard for me. What can I do to make the experience more tolerable?......Page 148
Part Six: Chemotherapy and Other Drug Therapy......Page 152
45. What is the bloodbrain barrier? How does it determine which drugs are used in brain tumor treatment?......Page 153
46. What is chemotherapy? What are the most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat brain tumors? What are their side effects?......Page 155
47. What can I do to prevent or diminish the side effects of chemotherapy?......Page 159
48. I saw two oncologists after the diagnosis of my tumor, and both recommended chemotherapy for my tumor; however, one recommended taking a combination of chemotherapy drugs and the other recommended a single drug. Both seemed to have good reasons for their recommendations, but how do I decide whos right?......Page 164
49. Why are some drugs given orally, through a vein, or through an artery, whereas other drugs are delivered into the spinal fluid or into the tumor cavity?......Page 166
50. I have had surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. My oncologist recently said that after a year of treatment I have had a complete remission. I asked him whether this is the same as being cured; he said no. What is the difference between remission and cure?......Page 167
51. My cancer was found in the spinal fluid. My doctor says that chemotherapy can be given directly into the spinal fluid with an Ommaya reservoir. What is an Ommaya reservoir, and how is it used for chemotherapy?......Page 168
52. Why should I have a different type of chemotherapy if the first type did not work?......Page 171
53. What is targeted therapy? Could targeted therapy be of benefit in treating my tumor?......Page 174
54. I have been hearing about brain tumor vaccines. What are they, and when will they be available?......Page 179
55. What other drugs could be used to treat my tumor?......Page 180
56. How long should I stay on treatment?......Page 183
57. Are all types of chemotherapy for brain tumors covered by insurance?......Page 184
Part Seven: Clinical Trials for Brain Tumor Patients......Page 186
58. My doctor told me that Im a perfect candidate for a clinical trial, but Im not sure what he means by this. What is a clinical trial?......Page 187
59. Im interested in finding a clinical trial of a new treatment for glioblastoma multiforme. What do I need to know before I enroll in a study?......Page 189
60. What is the difference between an investigational therapy, an off-label drug, a complementary therapy, and an alternative therapy?......Page 196
61. I am interested in a clinical trial at a research center in another state, but my doctor is opposed to this. He wants me to enter a trial at the medical school in my city or to take standard chemotherapy. What should I do?......Page 199
62. I have received three separate chemotherapy drugs, and each seemed to work for several months. I now have an area of new tumor on my MRI scan. Im interested in a clinical trial, but several of the clinical trials I have seen dont allow patients who have had previous chemotherapy to participate. Why is this?......Page 201
63. I have heard a lot about herbal remedies, antioxidants, and other nontoxic treatments, but I was told that these treatments have not been studied in a clinical trial. Is this true? If it is true, why havent these treatments been studied?......Page 202
Part Eight: Complications of Brain Tumors and Their Treatment......Page 206
64. Can I expect to have brain damage as a result of surgery, radiation therapy, or other treatment?......Page 207
65. I experience short periods in which I cant speak. This happens several times a day. I never black out, but my neurologist says that I could be having seizures. Is this common?......Page 209
66. I had seizures before my tumor was diagnosed, but I havent had one since. How long do I need to take anticonvulsant medication?......Page 211
67. Over the past several days, I have noticed that my left leg seems swollen and tight compared with my right. When I called my oncologists office and talked to the nurse, she told me to go to the emergency room immediately. Whats the problem? Why do I have to go to the emergency room?......Page 213
68. Are infections more common in patients with brain tumors?......Page 216
69. Will my cancer treatments cause permanent infertility?......Page 217
70. Ive always been healthy, but now that I have a brain tumor I worry about every little symptom. What symptoms should I look for, and when should I call my doctor?......Page 219
Part Nine: Medications Used in Brain Tumor Treatment......Page 222
71. After surgery, I was prescribed dexamethasone. My doctor says that I may be on this drug for several days. What does dexamethasone do? What are the side effects of dexamethasone?......Page 223
72. What are the side effects of anticonvulsant medication?......Page 225
73. My pharmacist said that there may be a drug interaction between some of my medications. What does this mean?......Page 227
74. Ive never been depressed before, but since my diagnosis, I feel hopeless at times. Will an antidepressant help? Are there side effects that I need to consider if Im on chemotherapy?......Page 230
75. Can I drink alcohol while taking chemotherapy or antiseizure medication?......Page 231
Part Ten: Living with a Brain Tumor......Page 234
76. I have just learned that I have a brain tumor and Im afraid. Is this common?......Page 235
77. What dietary adjustments do I need to make during treatment? Should I take vitamin or mineral supplements? Can diet protect against the recurrence of a brain tumor?......Page 238
78. Fatigue is a big problem for me. I simply dont have the energy to do anything. What can I do about this?......Page 240
79. Now that my treatment is over, why am I not happy about itor at least relieved?......Page 241
80. I didnt need physical therapy after my surgery, but Ive always been physically active. Can I resume regular exercise?......Page 244
81. Will I be allowed to drive?......Page 245
82. How should I tell my family, friends, and young children about my diagnosis?......Page 246
83. My caregiver is experiencing feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, and guilt. Where can caregivers go to get help?......Page 250
84. Im concerned about the cost of my treatment since I lost my insurance. What can I do?......Page 252
85. Is it possible to get pregnant while on chemotherapy?......Page 256
86. If I return to work at my desk job while Im on chemotherapy, will I have to take any special precautions?......Page 257
87. Friends, coworkers, and neighbors who have heard about my brain tumor offer to help, but Im not sure what I should tell them. What do caregivers and loved ones need to know in order to best support a person with a brain tumor?......Page 258
88. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor over 5 years ago, and I still have problems with fatigue, short-term memory, and occasional seizures. How can I make my family and friends understand these problems? They seem to think that because the tumor hasnt come back I should be able to do everything that I used to.......Page 260
Part Eleven: Taking Control of Your Future......Page 262
89. Are there specific support groups for brain tumor patients? How do I find one?......Page 263
90. What records do I need to keep about my treatment? What is the best way to stay organized?......Page 264
91. My oncologist told me that even though Im doing well, my tumor will probably come back at some point. He said, Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Im hoping for the best, but how do I prepare for the worst?......Page 267
92. I did not have a neuropsychological evaluation before surgery, but my neurologist recommended that I have one now that I have completed radiation therapy. How can neuropsychological tests help me?......Page 271
93. How do I discuss prognosis with my doctor?......Page 273
94. My doctor told me I have a year to live, but I feel fine now. What will happen to me during the next year? How will I die?......Page 277
95. My neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, neurologist, and medical oncologist dont always agree. Who is in charge?......Page 280
96. My doctor told me that my treatment is not working and that I should consider hospice. If I choose hospice, isnt that just giving up?......Page 282
97. Ive been in remission for over 2 years and want to do something to help other brain tumor patients. What can I do?......Page 287
98. I was told that my tumor is rare, and it has been difficult to find information about it. How can I find out more about my tumor?......Page 289
99. What can I expect in the future in terms of brain cancer treatments?......Page 290
100. Where can I go for further information?......Page 292
Appendix......Page 294
Glossary......Page 298
Index......Page 306


  • Author: Virginia Stark-Vance
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Publisher: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0763760544
  • ISBN-13: 9780763760540
  • Pages: 318
  • Format: pdf
  • Size: 2.7M
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