It is a Brain Tumor...Now What?
You have a brain tumor is a scary phrase to the 78,000 individuals who will receive the diagnosis this year. Once the flood of emotions begins to subside, what is the next step?
While the healing process is one that takes time and patience, these are the first steps the neurosurgery specialists at Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) recommend:
Step 1: Get Educated.
It may feel overwhelming at first, but learning about the details of your diagnosis will help you better grasp the situation and provide you with confidence for next steps.
Information you should know regarding your tumor includes:
Ask your physician(s) and specialist(s) which websites and resources to use, since many websites include inaccurate information. Searching Gwinnett Medical Center’s Health (e) Library is a great place to start as it includes information about brain tumors, treatment options, and recent news.
Once you have a grasp on your diagnosis, Dr. Robert Ayer suggests that “you start by researching the different treatment options that are available and recommended for you. While there are several different options you may discover, some may be more feasible than others depending on your overall health and brain tumor specifics (size, grade, shape, etc.).” Your specialist(s) should offer guidance as to whether you will need surgical or non-surgical measures, which is the key distinction in treatment options.
Step 2: Find the Right Treatment Center
In order to receive the best and most customized treatment plan available, you will want to find a treatment center that offers a multidisciplinary team of brain tumor specialists. You will also want to ensure that the treatment techniques and technology used are up-to-date.
The multidisciplinary team at Gwinnett Medical Center offers the latest in neurosurgical management with techniques for both biopsy and resection of tumors, and uses the most current technology. In addition, GMC offers radiation oncology services and the most up to date medical oncology services.
Remember, while your neurological team may be focused on your brain, our primary objective at Gwinnett Medical Center is to provide expert care for the entire individual.
Step 3: Find and Utilize Support.
It’s more important than ever to reach out to friends and family. However, as Dr. Dave Seecharan notes, “there are multiple forms of support you may need, including emotional, informational, intrapersonal, spiritual, and help with day-to-day necessities.”
Beyond friends and family, support in the community is available: social workers, counselors and members of different faiths can provide spiritual support and various resources. Support groups are also a great resource, with access to others who are experiencing a similar diagnosis. Finally, be there for yourself. This may sound obvious, but allow for personal time and reflection. Keeping a journal is recommended.
As both Dr. Ayer and Dr. Seecharan emphasize, “the healing journey is one that will take time and patience. Utilize education, treatment and support to stay empowered and encouraged throughout the process.”