Thriving with a Brain Tumor

(Family Features) A brain tumor can result in a wide range of physical and emotional changes, but proactively managing your coping strategy can have a significant impact on your treatment program and quality of life.

Manage the physical side effects. Oftentimes, the side effects associated with a brain tumor and its treatment are as troublesome as the tumor itself. Be prepared to experience changes throughout your body, such as your skin and nails, hair, weight, digestive system and nerves. Your medical team can provide recommendations for therapies and at-home remedies that ease your discomfort and reduce the severity of the side effects.

Explore treatment options. For decades, clinicians have sought better treatment options for patients with brain tumors. The current standard of care for patients with brain tumors is surgical removal of the tumor in combination with radiation therapy and at times chemotherapy. However, patients in most cases must wait 2-3 weeks for the surgical incision from tumor removal to heal before beginning radiation treatment.

An FDA-cleared option for patients with newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors and recurrent brain tumors, GammaTile Therapy, involves placing small tiles embedded with radiation into the tumor cavity immediately after surgically removing the brain tumor. This allows radiation to be delivered directly to the remaining tumor cells with no treatment delay. The unique design of the treatment tiles keeps the radiation source from directly touching healthy brain tissue while delivering a controlled treatment dose to the tumor cells, limiting the side effects typically associated with radiation. Once the radiation dose is delivered, the collagen tile is absorbed naturally by the body over time. Because the therapy is implanted at the end of surgery, patients require no additional trips to the hospital or clinic for radiation therapy.

Arm yourself with information. Treating a brain tumor is a personal journey and there are many variables that can affect the path you choose. Dedicate yourself to researching everything you can about your particular diagnosis, treatment options, what to expect and the pros and cons of each decision. That knowledge can restore a sense of power in a situation where so many things may feel beyond your control.

Nurture your emotional health. A brain tumor diagnosis is loaded with plenty of strong emotional responses, and you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed. Finding healthy ways to acknowledge and process those feelings can help you feel better prepared to cope with your diagnosis. Dedicate time each day to relaxation, meditation or another activity like reading or yoga that can help you free your mind.

Practice effective communication. Voicing your concerns to loved ones and talking openly with your medical team can have a profound impact on your ability to navigate your diagnosis and treatment. Freely asking questions and ensuring you have a strong understanding about what to expect can ease your mind, and openly discussing your thoughts and needs with those around you ensures they are in a better position to offer the support you need.

Learn more about your treatment options for brain tumors at

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