3 Tips For Treating And Managing Benign Brain Tumors
Brain tumors, especially benign tumors, may be found on imaging tests when other neurological problems are suspected. If you have recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor, there are some considerations to help you determine the best course of action and ensure your neurologist is fully informed about your symptoms.
Involve Those Closest To You
When possible, a close friend or family member is an important part of determining the right treatment plan. Since brain tumors can cause many physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms, you want to make sure your neurologist knows about anything of concern. Giving someone permission to attend appointments and even speak with the neurologist regarding your condition can help uncover problems you may deny or do not know exist.
Sometimes changes in your behavior or personality, and other symptoms that can resemble a mental illness, may be apparent to those around you. Since you may be unaware that you behave in this manner or refuse to acknowledge these problems exists, your neurologist may assume your tumor is not causing symptoms and only needs to be monitored.
Carefully Weigh Elective Surgery
Your brain tumor may only cause minor problems or none at all, but the problems may escalate in the future. If your neurologist presents you with the option of having surgery now or waiting, you need to carefully consider the benefits of having surgery now. Although it can seem unnecessary to have a major surgery now, especially if you do not feel like you are experiencing problems, waiting until problems arise can make your tumor more difficult to treat.
There is no way to guarantee a tumor may not change in size later. Furthermore, any symptoms you may develop in the future are not always reversible with surgery. If you have the opportunity to have your brain tumor removed and a major surgery would not be significantly impactful on your life at the moment, it is better to have surgery sooner rather than later.
Ask About Monitoring Options
If the best course of action is to monitor your brain tumor and symptoms, ask your neurologist about the advantages and disadvantages of various imaging tests. For example, both CT scans and MRI can be used to monitor brain tumors. If your neurologist will require frequent imaging tests for monitoring, you may want to know which imaging tests can provide the same or similar results with less radiation exposure.
Although the exposure to radiation is minimal, you may have concerns about the repeated exposure. Ask your neurologist if an MRI without contrast can be just as useful as an MRI with contrast or a CT scan. Some types of brain tumors, such as meningioma, are more likely to occur in people with radiation exposure. You may also be concerned about the effects of frequent imaging tests on your overall risk of cancer, especially brain cancer.
Finding out a brain tumor is benign can bring relief, but there are remaining concerns about current or future symptoms from your tumor. A good support system and being proactive in your treatment plan can help ease your mind.
For more information, talk with a neurologist, such as Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D..