Questions to Ask Your Neuro-Oncologist or Neurosurgeon If You Have a Recurrence
When your rare brain or spine tumor comes back or begins to grow after treatment, your doctor calls this a recurrence. Use these questions to determine the best treatment for a recurrence.
Ask Your Neuro-Oncologist
Here are some questions to ask your neuro-oncologist to help you determine the best treatment for you.
- Is my recurrence in the same spot or close by?
- Is my recurrence the same tumor type and grade as my original tumor? If not, what tumor type and grade is it?
- Has my cancer spread to other areas?
- Are there mutations in my tumor that affect your approach to treatment?
- What treatments (such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery) do I need?
- Are your treatment recommendations the standard guidelines? If not, why?
- If I need surgery, could you recommend a neurosurgeon?
- If I need radiation therapy, could you recommend a neuroradiologist?
- How do I need to prepare for treatments (changes in medications, diet, activity, etc.)?
- What are common treatment symptoms or side effects?
- How do you manage treatment symptoms or side effects?
- Are there long-term side effects of the treatment?
- What symptoms or side effects do I need to report? And what is the best way to report them?
- Can I work and carry on with my normal activities during treatment?
- How do I contact your team if I have treatment-related questions during the day, night, or weekends?
- Will insurance cover the treatment?
- Are there other alternative treatment options or clinical trials available that I should consider?
- Will my treatment choice impact my ability to enroll in clinical trials in the future?
- Should I get a second opinion? If so, could you recommend a specialist or another neuro-oncologist?
- What other specialists will be a part of my health care team (neuro-oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, advanced practice nurse, nurse navigator, pharmacist, speech therapist, neuropsychologist, social worker, nutritionist, or physical therapist)?
- What is the chance that my tumor will return again after treatment?
Ask Your Neurosurgeon
Here are some questions to ask your neurosurgeon to help you decide if surgery is the best treatment option to remove your brain or spine tumor, help prepare you for surgery, and ensure you are receiving the best possible care.
- Why do I need surgery?
- What type of surgery (such as minimally invasive surgery, craniotomy, or awake craniotomy) do I need?
- What is your experience performing this type of surgery?
- Have you performed surgery on someone with my tumor type before?
- If so, how many people with my tumor type do you treat each year?
- How soon do I need to have surgery?
- Are there possible risks if I choose to delay surgery?
- What are the possible risks and complications of having surgery? And do those change if this is not my first surgery?
- What are the benefits of surgery?
- Should I get a second opinion? If so, could you recommend a specialist or another neurosurgeon?
- What other specialists will be a part of my surgical team (anesthesiologist, surgical tech, resident, fellow, primary surgeon, or secondary surgeon)?
- How long will the surgery take?
- What do I need to do to prepare for the surgery (changes in medications, diet, activity, etc.)?
- How long will I be in the hospital after surgery?
- How long will it take for me to recover from surgery?
- How long after surgery will it take for me to return to normal activities?
- What changes should I anticipate after surgery (ability to be independent, work, drive, etc.)?
- Will I need rehabilitation services, such as speech therapy or physical therapy?
- Should I consider a clinical trial before surgery?
- Should I consider surgical clinical trials? If so, do you have available clinical trials for which I am eligible?
- Will surgery impact my ability to enroll in clinical trials in the future?
- What happens to my tumor tissue after surgery? For example, do you send it to pathology for testing or keep it for research?
- Will I have access to my tumor tissue in the future?
- What is the chance that my tumor will return again after surgery?
- What happens if I don’t have surgery?
We encourage you to print these questions and bring them with you to your appointment.