Questions to Ask if You Have A Recurrence

When your rare brain or spine tumor comes back or begins to grow after treatment, your doctor calls it 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.
  • What treatments do I need?
  • How do I need to do to prepare for treatments (changes in medications, diet, activity)?
  • Do I need surgery? If so, what do I need to do to prepare for surgery?
  • Are there other treatment options or clinical trials available?
  • Should I get a second opinion?

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, prepare you for surgery, and ensure you are receiving the best possible care.

  • Why do I need surgery?
  • What is your experience in doing this surgery?
  • Have you performed surgery on someone with my tumor type before?
  • If so, how many patients with my tumor type do you treat each year?
  • How soon do I need to have surgery?
  • What are the possible risks and complications of having surgery?
  • What are the benefits of surgery?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • What other specialists will be a part of my surgical team (anesthesiologist, surgical tech, resident, fellow, primary surgeon or secondary surgeon)?
  • What other specialists will be a part of my healthcare team (neuro-oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, advanced practice nurse, nurse navigator, pharmacist, speech therapist, neuropsychologist, social worker, nutritionist, physical therapist)?
  • How long will the surgery take?
  • What do I need to do to prepare for the surgery (changes in medications, diet, activity)?
  • 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 will happen after surgery (ability to be independent, work, drive)?
  • What happens to my tumor tissue and will I have access to it in the future?
  • What happens if I don’t have surgery?

We encourage you to print these questions and bring them with you to your appointment.

Questions to Ask About Recurrence was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.

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