Visual Pathway and Hypothalmic Glioma, Childhood
At any stage of disease, people with brain tumors receive supportive care to prevent or control problems and to improve their comfort and quality of life during treatment. Patients may have treatment to control pain and other symptoms of a brain tumor, to relieve the side effects of therapy, and to ease emotional problems.
These are common types of supportive care for people with brain tumors:
- Steroids—Most patients with brain tumors need steroids to help relieve swelling of the brain.
- Anticonvulsant medicine—Brain tumors can cause seizures. Patients may take an anticonvulsant medicine to prevent or control seizures.
- Shunt—If fluid builds up in the brain, the surgeon may place a shunt to drain the fluid. Information about shunts is under "Surgery" in the "Side Effects" section.
Many people with brain tumors receive supportive care along with treatments intended to slow the progress of the disease. Some decide not to have antitumor treatment and receive only supportive care to manage their symptoms.
Regular followup is very important after treatment for a brain tumor. The doctor checks closely to make sure that the tumor has not returned. Checkups may include careful physical and neurologic exams. From time to time, the patient may have MRI or CT scans. If the patient has a shunt, the doctor checks to see that it is working well. The doctor can explain the followup plan—how often the patient must visit the doctor and what tests will be needed.