Brain Tumor: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your care.

  • What type of brain tumor do I have?
  • Is the tumor cancerous?
  • What is the tumor’s grade? What does this mean?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • Will an experienced neuropathologist review my pathology slides?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • How many brain tumors do you treat each year?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the tumor, help me feel better, or both?
  • Would any of these treatment options keep me from participating in a clinical trial in the future?
  • When should I start treatment?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • Do you attend expert meetings to discuss complicated tumor cases?
  • Are there brain tumor centers of excellence that you recommend I contact?
  • Does your practice include multidisciplinary care? What does this mean?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what is each person’s role?
  • What are the possible side effects of each treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before treatment begins?
  • What level of caregiving will I need during treatment and recovery?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my medical care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Do you know of a local support group for people with brain tumors?
  • Do you have reading material that would help me understand my disease?
  • After treatment, what follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
  • What are the chances that the tumor will recur? If it does, will there be other treatment options available to me?
  • Whom should I call for questions or problems?

The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.