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Brain Tumors

  • Posted: 04/29/2009

Supportive Care

A brain tumor and its treatment can lead to other health problems. You may receive supportive care to prevent or control these problems.

You can have supportive care before, during, and after cancer treatment. It can improve your comfort and quality of life during treatment.

Your health care team can help you with the following problems:

  • Swelling of the brain: Many people with brain tumors need steroids to help relieve swelling of the brain.

  • Seizures: Brain tumors can cause seizures (convulsions). Certain drugs can help prevent or control seizures.

  • Fluid buildup in the skull: If fluid builds up in the skull, the surgeon may place a shunt to drain the fluid. Information about shunts is in the Surgery part of the Treatment section.

  • Sadness and other feelings: It's normal to feel sad, anxious, or confused after a diagnosis of a serious illness. Some people find it helpful to talk about their feelings. See the Sources of Support section for more information.

Many people with brain tumors receive supportive care along with treatments intended to slow the progress of the disease. Some decide not to have antitumor treatment and receive only supportive care to manage their symptoms.

You can get information about supportive care at on the NCI Web site and from the NCI Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or LiveHelp (