Brain Tumor

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A tumor in the brain is called a brain tumor. The tumor can be either a benign tumor or a cancerous tumor. The prognosis for brain tumors varies, but it is often possible to get good treatment.

The treatment of the brain tumor you receive depends on what type of tumor it is and wherein the brain is located.

The disease is uncommon and can occur at any age, but you are usually over 60 years of age. It is largely unknown why you get a brain tumor.

What is a Brain Tumor?

The word brain tumor is a collective name for a variety of tumor diseases in the brain. If the tumor has developed in the brain, it is called a primary brain tumor.

You can also get a brain metastasis from a cancerous disease elsewhere in the body. Metastases are also called daughter tumors. They are always cancerous tumors.

The cancers that more frequently than others cause brain metastases are lung cancer, malignant melanoma, and breast cancer. Brain metastases may be the first symptom of a cancer disease, but it is uncommon.

How common is a brain tumor?

Primary cancer tumors are most common in people over the age of 60, but children, adolescents, and young adults can also get the disease.

Benign brain tumors

Primary brain tumors are usually divided into two main groups of equal size: benign tumors and cancerous tumors.

The most common type of benign brain tumor is called a meningioma, or brain tumor, and grows in the meninges that surround the brain. Meningioma is more common in women than in men and can sometimes develop during pregnancy.

Another benign brain tumor is the acoustic neurinoma, or auditory nerve tumor, which occurs in the nerve sheath around the auditory nerve.

How you are affected by a benign brain tumor is very different depending on where the brain tumor is located.

Cancer tumor in the brain

Cancer tumors in the brain can be rapidly or slowly growing. Unlike other cancer tumors, primary cancer tumors in the brain rarely spread to other parts of the body.

The most common cancer tumors that can occur in the brain are glioma and medulloblastoma.

Glioma in various forms

The most common type of cancerous tumor in the brain is called glioma and develops in the supporting tissue surrounding the nerve cells. There are different forms of glioma that require different treatments. Glioma is graded on a scale of one to four according to how fast the tumor cells grow.

Glioma grades 1 and 2 are so-called low-grade gliomas, which grow slowly and can sometimes standstill for an extended period without treatment. Glioma grades 3 and 4 are so-called high-grade gliomas, which grow rapidly and require rapid treatment. Glioma grade 4 is the most common of gliomas and is called by another name for glioblastoma. 

Medulloblastoma is most common in children

Another cancer tumor is medulloblastoma. It occurs almost exclusively in children and adolescents. Medulloblastoma belongs to a type of cancerous tumor called a primitive neuroectodermal tumor, PNET, and usually grows adjacent to the fluid-filled cavity at the cerebellum located in the back of the head.

Different chance of getting rid of the disease

The opportunities you have to recover after treatment depend mainly on the type of tumor you have, where it is located and if it can be removed. In addition to surgery, you can receive radiation and drug treatment, usually cytostatic.

If a benign tumor can be removed, you are usually completely restored after treatment. If the tumor is difficult to operate, you may have to undergo controls or receive other treatments. Examples of such treatment may be radiation therapy or cytostatics.

But even if a tumor in the brain is benign, it can cause problems if it grows. This is because the space inside the skull bone is limited. In that case, you may still be suggested surgery and sometimes radiotherapy depending on the location of the tumor.

The treatment of brain tumors is improving as technological advances and research into new drugs and the biology of cancer tumors progress.

Symptoms of brain tumor

The body’s functions are controlled from different parts of the brain. The symptoms you can get from a brain tumor, therefore, depend mainly on where the tumor is located. You may also have symptoms that are caused by the pressure inside your head increasing.

For example, you may have one or more of the following symptoms of a brain tumor:

  • headaches, dizziness, and nausea
  • epileptic seizures
  • palsies
  • impact on vision, hearing or speech
  • changed personality
  • altered responsiveness.

Headache, dizziness, and nausea

A brain tumor can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. The headaches are due to the tumor growing and taking up space, which increases the pressure inside the head. Headaches can be strongest when you wake up in the morning after lying down. They decrease when you come into an upright position. But headaches are common and are usually not due to any serious illness.

You may get dizziness along with the headaches, which can be followed by nausea and vomiting. Dizziness is often described as a feeling that everything is swinging or spinning.

Epileptic seizures

You can have different types of epileptic seizures due to a brain tumor. Some seizures can cause mild symptoms that only you experience while the surroundings do not notice anything. Other seizures can cause it to jerk an arm, leg or half body. Sometimes the seizures can spread to the brain and cause you to become unconscious. You can get twitches all over your body.

A major seizure may come suddenly, but you may also experience minor symptoms that get stronger over time. The attacks are uncontrolled and can last for a short or long time. Usually a few minutes.

Paralysis

It is also common for the force in any part of the body to gradually disappear, for example in an arm or leg. For example, it may start with a foot not sounding, and over time you may lose power throughout the leg. The paralysis can spread to the arm and sometimes even to the face. You may also have difficulty swallowing.

You can also get symptoms only on one side that are similar to the symptoms you get in stroke, but which usually develop more slowly in brain tumors.

Impact on vision

Vision can be affected so that you do not, for example, look at the pages. You can then stumble or run on things that are where the field of vision has disappeared. Tumors that affect the nerves that control the eye muscles can cause you to squint or look double. The size of the pupils can be affected to make them different in size.

Impact on hearing

It is common for your ears to tingle or your hearing to become worse if you have a tumor in the auditory nerves. The tumor is usually on one side and you only get symptoms from that side.

Other brain tumors can also affect your hearing and cause you to hear worse than usual.

You may also experience unusual sounds.

Impact on speech

You may have various problems with speaking. You can, for example, shudder, find it difficult to find words, say the wrong words, have trouble forming the words, or understand what is being said. 

Personality change

Sometimes there is a tumor in the parts of the brain that controls the personality. Then there may be people around you who notice that you have changed.

For example, you may find it difficult to do things, forget easily or be indifferent to things you usually like. You may find it difficult to recognize people you know well.

Altered responsiveness

If the tumor takes up space, the pressure in the head increases. It can affect the brain’s functions in a way that makes you feel lethargic and becomes more and more tired. You may react poorly to sound, light and pain, and may, for example, be more difficult to awaken.

Increased pressure due to fluid

A tumor that is in the way of fluid flow circulating around the brain and in the cavity of the brain can cause the pressure in the head to increase. It is called hydrocephalus and can cause you to easily forget things, have headaches or have difficulty keeping your balance.

In the case of young children whose skulls have not grown together, the increased pressure can cause the head to swell and become disproportionately large.

When and where should I seek care?

Contact a health care provider if you think you have symptoms that may be due to a brain tumor.

If you have severe headaches that gradually increase for a few days and you become dizzy, feel unwell, or vomit, contact a health center or an on-call clinic. Headache is common and is usually not due to any serious illness.

If it’s night, you can wait until the on-call reception or medical center open.

  • You suddenly get severe headaches.
  • You get a changed feeling in some body parts.
  • You lose parts of the field of view.
  • You become paralyzed in some body parts.
  • You get hard to talk.
  • You get seizures.

Why do you get a brain tumor?

It is not clear what causes a cancerous tumor in the brain.

Chemicals and previous effects of radioactive radiation are risk factors that have been shown to be important. But it is usually not possible to determine exactly what caused the disease. Most often it depends on a combination of several different things.

Heredity can be a contributing cause, but it is unusual. There are some unusual diseases where you have a slightly increased risk of getting especially benign tumors, but also cancerous tumors.

You can read more about how cancer occurs in the text  What is cancer.

Surveys

A doctor needs to get a detailed description of how your symptoms have developed over time to understand the cause of your complaints. 

During the conversation with your doctor, you will be asked questions about your symptoms, such as how long they have been around, how often you feel them, how long they sit in and if they have changed since you first noticed them. Other issues may be more general, such as how you experience your work and your life situation, whether you feel tired or not.

It can also be important to tell you about the diseases you have previously been treated for, or if you have or have had a tumor disease before. The doctor also wants to know what treatments you have received before or if you are now receiving any treatment.

The doctor may also need to talk to someone who is close to you and who can tell you if your personality has changed.

Neurological examination

Your various nerve functions are tested, such as reflexes, balance, muscle strength, eye movements and more. It is called a neurological examination.

Among other things, your doctor will check if the force is impaired in any part of your body and if your ability to react or feel is impaired.

You may also be able to do tests that can show how your memory and your ability to think logically works. The doctor can sometimes also examine what the bottom of the eye looks like by glowing in the eye with a small lamp. You may be able to do more tests depending on the symptoms you have.

You may be able to proceed to further investigations after the doctor has received answers to their questions and is finished with the examination. This usually means that you are allowed to do some type of x-ray examination of the head.

Computer tomography or magnetic camera examination

You can be examined with computed tomography or magnetic camera examination. Sometimes both studies may be needed.

Computed tomography can show if you have a tumor inside the brain or meninges. Computed tomography also shows signs of increased head pressure and other changes that require further investigation.

A magnetic camera examination can give the doctor a more detailed view of the tumor and find minor changes that are more difficult to detect with computed tomography.

Spinal fluid test – lumbar puncture

You can sometimes have a sample of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. This is done through a so-called lumbar puncture, also called spinal fluid test. 

You may lie down on the side, or sit upon a breeze. The sample is taken between two vertebrae in the lower back with a thin needle. A small amount of the back fluid is drained. You can get local anesthesia if you want, but the sampling does not hurt. With or without stunning you feel a slight pressure.

You can sometimes get a new test if there are tumor cells in the spinal fluid. In conjunction with the new sampling, you can get a syringe of cytostatic as part of the treatment.

Tissue test – biopsy

For tumor diseases of the brain, a tissue test is almost always required to be sure of the disease. The tissue test is done at a so-called neurosurgical clinic to which you are referred.

You may need to come to a neurosurgical ward the day before for preparation. It is important that the tissue sample is taken in exactly the right place. Therefore, a type of metal frame is usually attached to the head. The frame may look different but is usually attached to the skull and ear canals using screws.

You first get local anesthesia to reduce the hassles when tightening the screws. It can feel uncomfortable and even hurt before the frame is fixed. You don’t usually feel it when it is in place, but it can be uncomfortable not being able to move as usual. Once the frame is in place, images are taken with computed tomography.

You do not need to be anesthetized when the examination is done but you can get sedative and relaxing medication. You can also be anesthetized if you wish.

The skin above the place where the sample is to be taken is anesthetized with local anesthesia and the surgeon then makes a small incision. The surgeon then drills a small hole in the skull. It doesn’t hurt, but it can sour in the head. Then one or more samples are taken. Taking samples from the brain itself does not hurt.

The survey usually takes less than an hour. In most cases, you are allowed to go home for a few hours after sampling.

New medical assessment

You can get a new medical assessment, a so-called second opinion, if you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor and feel unsure if you are receiving the care and treatment that is best for you.

The assessment should be made at another specialist hospital where you may see another doctor. Ask your doctor if you want to know more about how to get a new medical assessment.

A standardized course of care

The investigation of your complaints can be done according to a standardized course of care, SVF if the doctor suspects you may have a brain tumor.

Standardized care is a way of organizing the investigation so that it goes as quickly as possible. Among other things, there are times set for the surveys you may need to do.

The doctor who writes the referral tells you why you should be investigated according to a standardized course of care, what it means and when you can be told if you have cancer or not.

It is often quick to get calls for examinations in a standardized course of care. It is good if you are clear about how the staff most safely reach you so that you do not miss any time.

Treatment of brain tumors

The treatment of brain tumors you receive depends on where the tumor is located, how big it is, what symptoms you have and how your health is in general. Your doctor will suggest the most appropriate treatment for you depending on the tumor you have.

The following methods may be relevant during treatment:

  • an operation
  • radiation therapy
  • treatment with drugs, usually cytostatic drugs.

You are often treated with surgery, radiation, and cytostatics or other tumor drugs when you have a cancerous tumor in the brain.

Many brain tumors cause a swelling of the brain, so-called edema. The swelling can cause headaches and nausea. Then you can get treatment with special cortisone drugs.

Treatment for epileptic seizures can be obtained in brain tumors with the same drug that is usually used to treat epilepsy.

Operation

Cancer tumors in the brain are operated, as are the most benign tumors. Benign tumors are usually operable completely. An operation can remove the tumor or relieve the symptoms, depending on the type of tumor you have. 

Sometimes so-called microsurgery is used, where the doctor operates with the aid of a microscope. Tissue tests can also be taken in conjunction with the surgery so that the doctor can find out exactly what disease is involved and for the continued treatment to be as effective as possible.

How is the operation going?

When you are going to have surgery, you have to come to a neurosurgical clinic the day before for preparation. For example, you may have blood tests, check blood pressure and sometimes even heart. You can also shower with a bactericidal agent both the night before and the day of surgery. You may not eat or drink anything from midnight.

Before the operation, you will be anesthetized with anesthesia. Then a small piece of hair is shaved off where the surgery is to be done. An opening is made in the leg to reach the tumor. Once the surgeon has reached the tumor, remove it as much as possible without damaging the surrounding tissue. Tumors can sometimes be tucked away so that the healthy tissue is not damaged. When the operation is complete, the skull is reset.

A tumor can sometimes be removed while you are awake, although unusual. This is done in order for the patient to be able to answer questions which, for example, show how speech ability and feeling are affected during the operation. In this way, the surgeon avoids damaging sensitive areas.

The first day after the operation you will receive extra monitoring until you have recovered. You usually need to stay in the hospital for a few more days to a week, depending on how you feel after the operation.

Operation of benign brain tumors

When it comes to benign tumors, you can be operated on if possible. This applies, for example, to meningioma and acoustic neurinoma. It all depends on where in the brain the tumor is located. Some benign tumors are clearly delimited and can, therefore, be removed if they are readily available. A benign tumor can be difficult to remove completely if it is located in a sensitive place, such as further into the brain, or in an area that controls vital functions.

A benign tumor can sometimes come back and need surgery again. The risk of having to undergo surgery is greatest if the tumor has not been able to be completely removed. The doctor tries to get rid of the tumor as much as possible without damaging healthy brain tissue.

But not all benign tumors need to be operated on. If they do not grow or cause troublesome symptoms, you may instead be called to regular x-ray examinations. Then the tumor is kept under surveillance and surgery can be avoided as long as the tumor does not grow or cause symptoms.

Radiotherapy

Radiation therapy is an add-on treatment that you can get after cancer surgery or against a benign tumor that cannot be completely removed.

Radiation treatments are directed to the place where the cancer tumor is located or where it was placed before surgery. For example, you may receive five radiation treatments per week for a total of six weeks. But sometimes fewer treatments are done.

You need to make some preparations for this radiation treatment. The reason is that the treatment must be adapted to the type of cancer tumor you have and where it is sitting or sitting before the surgery. This means that you are given a specially made position so that you can lie exactly the same on every treatment occasion. You may also perform an additional X-ray examination with computed tomography prior to radiotherapy.

It may take up to 10 days before you receive a treatment plan that has been customized for you. The radiation is given in small doses and repeated in the same way at each treatment occasion. It is always given to the same area of ​​the brain, but from different directions to reduce the radiation to the healthy part of the brain.

Each radiation takes a minute from each direction and does not feel at all.

Different radiation methods

Some small tumors can be treated with a so-called radiation knife. The radiation is the same type as for other radiation treatment, but the difference is that the entire radiation dose is given at one time. In this type of radiation, your head is placed in a special helmet that has many small holes. The radiation is given through the holes in such a way that all the rays meet in the tumor.

There is also equipment that can concentrate the radiation from a radiation device to the tumor. It gives the same effect as the jet knife.

Another way to get the radiation concentrated on the tumor is radiation treatment with so-called protons. Then it is common to need treatment several times.

Side effects of radiation therapy

At the beginning of the radiation treatment, there may be swelling in the brain that leads to headaches and nausea. The risk of this is greatest if the tumor has not been able to be removed. The swelling can be reduced with the help of cortisone and you can feel better.

Some time after the radiation treatment has begun, it is common to lose hair in the treated area. The skin may redden and become irritated. The hair usually grows out again, but it can take a long time.

Towards the end of treatment, the healthy brain may begin to be affected. You may then have similar symptoms that you had when you became ill. You may also find it difficult to concentrate and become easily irritated and tired. These side effects can also be relieved by cortisone. The symptoms can last for four to six months until you have recovered from radiation therapy.

Radiation treatment can also cause you to easily forget things afterward. In this case, it is usually noticed only a few years after the radiation treatment.

The boundary for radiation therapy

There is a limit to how much radiation you can get. The reason is that the treatment affects both the cancer cells and other cells in the brain and central nervous system.

Children with brain tumors rarely receive radiotherapy. This is especially true of the smallest children. Their brains are still under development and are thus extra sensitive to radiation.

Drugs for brain tumor

When treating tumors in the brain, various tumor drugs are usually given in tablet form, for example, cytostatic drugs, which are a cell-inhibitory drug. You can also receive treatment in the form of a syringe under the skin or in a vein. You are given either only drugs or medicines in combination with radiotherapy.

Side effects from tumor drugs

You may get side effects such as nausea and fatigue, as tumor drugs also affect healthy cells. Your blood values ​​can be affected, especially the white blood cells. You can get tumor drugs in several rounds every few weeks, as blood levels need to recover in between.

You may become more sensitive to infections during treatment as the number of white blood cells decreases. It is important that you contact your doctor or nurse if you experience symptoms that may indicate an infection, such as a fever or a sore throat. They assess whether antibiotics or other drugs are needed.

Tumor drug treatment can also increase the risk of bleeding. You should also consult your doctor or nurse if you get bruises or easier to start bleeding nosebleeds. Some drugs may increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.

There is also a risk that you will lose your hair during treatment with cytostatic drugs, but it will probably not happen if you receive the most common treatment for cancer tumor glioma.

Treatment of the cancerous tumor glioma

The most common cancer tumor in the brain is called a glioma. Glioma grade 1 grows slowly and usually develops in children. It is often possible to operate away.

In surgery for low-grade glioma in adults, the surgeon tries to remove the entire cancer tumor in order to delay as far as possible the tumor will return. Follow-up treatment is often required, but it can sometimes take several years before it becomes relevant.

In the case of fast-growing high-grade glioma, the goal is to get rid of as much of the cancer tumor as possible to reduce the symptoms of the tumor and to slow the tumor’s growth. After the operation, you can receive radiotherapy for a period of between two and six weeks. It is common to receive cytostatics or other drug treatments together with radiation therapy and as a supplement. You can also get it instead of radiotherapy.

You may need to be operated on again if the cancer tumor begins to grow again. Often, the second operation is followed by treatment with tumor drugs. You can also get treatment with tumor drugs if you are not re-operated. It is unusual for radiation to be treated more than once.

Treatment of the cancer tumor medulloblastoma

Medulloblastoma usually occurs in children and often grows in the cerebellum that is located in the back of the head. The goal of surgery is to remove the entire cancer tumor. But if it sits in a delicate place, the doctor removes as much as possible, without damaging the healthy tissue.

The cancerous tumor can cause fluid pressure to increase in the brain and in that case, it may be necessary to insert a shunt. A shunt is a thin tube that is operated under the skin and is guided from the cavity of the brain down to the stomach. Then the excess fluid runs out and can be taken care of by the peritoneum in the stomach.

For children over three years, radiation therapy is sometimes given for up to six weeks, to the entire brain and spinal cord. Most often this is combined with several rounds of cytostatics given both before and after the radiation treatment.

Children with brain tumors rarely receive radiotherapy. This is especially true for the very youngest children, as their brain is still developing and is extra sensitive to radiation.

Treatment of brain metastases

Metastases are daughter tumors to a cancerous disease that has started in another part of the body and then spread. The entire disease picture is usually considered before the doctor decides which treatment may be appropriate. Often you get radiation treatment to the whole brain. The most common thing is to be beamed Monday to Friday for two weeks. The purpose of the treatment is to curb and relieve the disease, but should also help you get rid of cancer.

Sometimes you can be operated on before you receive radiation treatment. This may be the case if your original cancer is under control and there are only one to three brain metastases that can be removed. You can also sometimes receive radiotherapy in one or more high doses instead of surgery.

If you have had metastases in the meninges or fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, you may need both radiation therapy and cytostatic drugs. You can sometimes get cytostatics through a syringe in the back, just as when you leave a spinal fluid test.

Palliative care

If you cannot get rid of the disease, you will instead receive treatment that can delay the cancer tumor’s growth and make you feel as good as possible. It is called palliative treatment. To reduce the symptoms, you may receive cortisone which reduces the swelling that forms in the brain due to the tumor.

Getting a sick message

You can respond in many ways to a message that you have a brain tumor. For many, it can come as a shock and mean that you end up in a crisis. Often you need plenty of time to talk to your doctor and other healthcare professionals about what the message means. If possible, please let a relative accompany you. The related person can act as a support and help to remember what has been said.

Many hospitals have special nurses called contact nurses. They can provide support and also help with various practical things.

You have the right to understand

In order for you to be able to participate in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask for information printed so that you can read it peacefully. If you have a hearing impairment, you may have the right to get help from an interpreter.

You can get help in several places

Are you worried or have questions? Talk to the contact nurse or the hospital’s curator. You can also contact, for example, the Cancer Foundation or Cancer Counseling if you have received a cancer message.

For many, it usually feels easier once treatment has begun and you know what is going to happen.

Tell the kids

A minor child living at home has the right to receive information and support based on his or her own needs if a close adult has an illness. It is the responsibility of care. If you want to tell the child yourself, you can get help with what to say. Often it is good to make children as involved as possible, no matter how big or small they are. That doesn’t mean you have to tell everything.

Support if you are related

It can sometimes feel difficult to be close to someone who is ill. You may want to give support while you have a strong concern and feel bad? It is very common.

Are there other people in your area who can support you? If you dare to tell them, it will often be easier for them to help you. If you are related and need supportive calls, you can also talk to the contact nurse.

More reading if you have received a cancer message

You can read more about getting a cancer message in the texts Getting a cancer message and Related to someone who gets cancer.

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and brain tumor

If you get a brain tumor when you are pregnant, you need to discuss with your doctor what is best to do. It depends on what kind of illness you have received and how far the pregnancy has gone.

You can be operated on during an ongoing pregnancy and can also be treated without any major risks to the baby, especially during the latter part of the pregnancy. Most often, however, you are usually recommended to choose a cesarean section, or the initiation of childbirth, if it does not pose a risk to the child or yourself.

The highest risk with cytostatics

You should first have been able to discuss any potential risks to the fetus properly with your treating physician if you are to receive cytostatic therapy during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding is possible during radiotherapy but should be terminated before any treatment with cytostatic drugs. The cytostatic can be transmitted to the child with the mother’s milk and injure the child.

How is life affected by a tumor in the brain?

Having a tumor in the brain can have major consequences for everyday life. You can learn to live with various hassles and limitations depending on what illness and symptoms you have received and what treatment you are going through.

Life can behave differently if you have been treated for a cancerous tumor in the brain with surgery and further treatment. Some of the surgery for cancer of the brain is restored. Then the radiation or treatment with cytostatics can often cause transient problems. You can then go back to work and live as usual if you work.

If you are operated on for a benign tumor, the symptoms can disappear and you can be completely restored.

It can be difficult to live as usual

Most who are treated for cancerous tumors of the brain have symptoms of the tumor and side effects of the treatment. It can often make it difficult to live as usual. For many, it is then not possible to go back to work.

For example, it is common to have paralysis symptoms, difficult to talk or have problems with memory and concentration. You may also have more specific problems like reading and counting. You can become tired and easily irritated is common. The energy and the ability to concentrate can be affected even more if you need to take medicines for epilepsy.

You get an increased susceptibility to infections if you need to continue with cytostatic drugs.

Refrain from driving

If you have been treated for high-grade glioma, you should refrain from driving. You may be unsuitable as a car driver because of the illness and treatment.

If you have had epileptic seizures in connection with a brain tumor, you should have been seizure-free for two years before you can discuss driving with your doctor.

For professional drivers, even stricter rules apply.

What can I get for help and support?

You can often get help in everyday life through individually tested aids, such as a wheelchair or a walker. Sometimes you can get help from an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or speech therapist.

You can often get help and support from the curator at the hospital. The curator can help in various ways, both in connection with the acute crisis when you get sick and when you are going through treatment. But you can also get help during the time after treatment. For example, you can get help seeking grants from various funds to cover extra expenses you have incurred as a result of the illness.

You may be in need of home service from the municipality to make everyday life work. For example, you can get help with making purchases and cleaning if you have a disability due to the disease.

Advice to related parties

For most people, getting close to a brain tumor involves a lot of stress. It can be particularly difficult if it is a cancer tumor.

It places great demands on those who are related to the person who is ill, has symptoms that change their personality, or have functional disabilities such as paralysis symptoms, speech difficulties, or the risk of epilepsy attacks. This could mean, for example, that the sick person cannot be left alone or needs much help in everyday life.

What kind of support can I get as a relative?

It is good if you can help if there are several close relatives. You can sometimes even ask close friends of the family for help. It is also important to be clear about what needs you have in contact with health care and also the municipality so that you receive as good support and assistance as possible.

For example, you can get call support from a curator, practical help in the form of home care, and aids to facilitate care at home. You can also get financial help in the form of related benefits, and other means to cover extra expenses that the illness has brought.

You can also get help with relief by allowing the person who is ill from time to time to stay in a short-term residence. It can also be about relieving through permanent living in a nursing home if the situation in the home demands it. Here you can read more about being close to someone who has cancer.

Extra support for toddler families

It is important to pay attention to the situation of the children and to engage in supportive efforts early if there are small children in the family. Such interventions are often found at the treating clinic, or sometimes at a child psychiatric clinic. The treating clinic or the hospital’s responsible clinic can help with the right contact.

The care has an obligation to ensure that children or teenagers who are related to someone who has cancer receive support and advice and the information needed.

What can I do as a relative?

As a relative, you can be of help and support to the sick person. They can sometimes find it difficult to tell about themselves and realize their needs or disabilities. It is therefore good if you can help bring the related party’s action against the health care and the municipality. It can be about explaining clearly the needs of the person’s help and telling them about the difficulties that arise in everyday life.

Above all, if the person who is ill is a younger person, it is possible to have a personal assistant granted through the municipality. Or, as a relative, you can get temporary employment as a carer for the sick person.

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