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Brain Cancer

A brain tumor diagnosis is unimaginable.

We’ll guide you through your cancer care with nationally recognized expertise. 

Perhaps you had some headaches and went to the doctor for tests.  Or maybe your friends and family have complained about changes in your behavior, but you thought it was stress. Maybe you suffered a seizure, out of the blue.

And then you hear, “You have a brain tumor,” and it doesn’t seem possible it could be for you.  You’re going along one day and then suddenly, everything changes.

We understand and hope you take comfort in knowing our neurologists and neurosurgeons are leaders in central Ohio and recognized nationally when it comes to experience with diagnosing and treating brain tumors. You won’t find a more dedicated team of cancer care specialists ready to help you.

You’ll probably have many questions as you progress through your care plan. Whether they are about treatment, your eligibility for clinical trials, your curiosity about support groups or rehabilitation options, or any of our many other resources available, we are here to answer any and all of them.

Brain Cancer Basics Treatments and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is a brain tumor and what causes it?

    A:

    A brain tumor forms from abnormal cell growth. It can spread to the spinal cord but typically does not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Benign (non-cancerous) brain tumors grow slowly and tend to be less-invasive than malignant (cancerous) brain tumors; however, they can be as damaging and life-threatening as malignant tumors if located deep within the brain or close to vital areas.

    Causes are generally unknown, and there are few identified risk factors for a brain tumor. You can read more about risk factors on the American Cancer Society’s website.

  • Q: Are brain tumors treatable?

    A: Yes. There are different options for treating brain tumors that include, among other options, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. How your brain tumor is treated will depend on its type, size and location. Additional factors determining the kind of treatment include your age and health.
  • Q: Does OhioHealth treat brain tumors?

    A:

    Yes. We have a staff of nationally acclaimed neurosurgeons and neurologists experienced in treating all types of brain tumors. In addition, OhioHealth specialists from wide-ranging fields, such as radiation oncology, pathology, neurosurgery and medical oncology, meet to discuss individual brain tumor cases. They collectively help determine the best course of diagnosis and treatment for patients.

    Your OhioHealth cancer care team will work closely with you to determine the course of treatment that is best for your condition.

  • Q: How serious is my brain tumor?

    A:

    It’s important to talk with your doctor about the seriousness of your condition. We understand this is the biggest question for someone newly diagnosed with a brain tumor, but the answer you’re looking for is individual to you and the type and location of your brain tumor. Only your doctor and other members of your cancer care team can provide answers to this question, with the detail and explanations you’ll want and need.

     Ask your doctor to explain the characteristics of your brain tumor, such as its size and location, and whether or not it’s likely to grow. Share with your doctor your fears and concerns. Ask for information about support groups, if you feel you need to share with others who also have your type of cancer. And consider bringing a friend or family member with you to your appointments, so they can help you hear and remember the information your doctor shares with you.

  • Q: How will a brain tumor affect the way I think? Will it change my behavior?

    A:

    The answer for how your brain tumor could affect your thinking or your behavior depends on many factors individual to your brain tumor. Share your concerns with your doctor and ask for information that can help you and your family anticipate possible symptoms caused by the tumor.

    The brain is the central control source for how we think, act and feel. To understand how a brain tumor can affect these functions, it helps to learn about the three major areas of the brain:

    • the cerebrum controls thought, learning, speech, emotions and more
    • the cerebellum controls movement and balance
    • the brain stem controls heart rate, breathing and other involuntary functions

    You’ll find more information about how the brain works on the following cancer websites:

  • Q: How is a brain tumor staged?

    A: Staging determines if cancer has spread beyond the site of its origin. Because brain tumors rarely spread beyond the brain or spinal cord, there is no universal staging system for them. Each case is determined individually, based on the type and location of the brain tumor and how quickly it is likely to grow and spread in the brain or spinal cord.
  • Q: Where do I find more information on brain cancer?

    A:

    We recommend you start with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for their comprehensive expertise.

  • Q: What treatment options are available to me for brain cancer?

    A: Every cancer patient is unique in their treatment needs, so it’s best to talk with your doctor about what options are available to you. Most treatment plans for brain tumors are determined by its type, size and location, as well as the condition of your overall health. Common treatment options for brain tumors include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Read about treatment options at OhioHealth.
  • Q: Can surgeons operate on my brain tumor?

    A: Whether surgery will be part of your treatment depends on many things, including the location and size of the tumor and if surgery will negatively affect brain functionality. The doctors on your cancer care team will work closely with you as they determine whether or not your tumor is operable.
  • Q: What can I do to help my body get strong after treatment for a brain tumor?

    A: One of the best things you can do is follow a healthy lifestyle. That includes making sure you eat the right foods, so your body gets the nutrients it needs to heal and get strong. Ask your Cancer Care Team how you can get support and assistance from an OhioHealth dietitian, who can provide nutritional guidance. Also ask for other things you can do to help your body get and stay healthy.
  • Q: Is there such a thing as rehabilitation therapy for brain tumor survivors?

    A: At OhioHealth, we have a team of licensed therapists who specialize in rehabilitation from neurological disorders. They can address the physical and cognitive as well as social and emotional aspects of recovery. You’ll need a referral from your physician to work with therapists in OhioHealth Rehabilitation Services. Talk to your doctor to see if the program might be right for you.
  • Q: Will I be able to work during or after my treatment for a brain tumor?

    A: The treatment you receive for your brain tumor and how you respond to it will determine if you can work. It’s a question for you and your physician to discuss and monitor during your care. If you have worries about your job and career being affected, talk to members of your Cancer Care Team about helping you find resources for support.

Want more answers? Browse all of the OhioHealth cancer patient FAQs. General FAQ

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