Before Brain Tumor Surgery

Preparing for Brain Tumor Surgery

Once you are diagnosed, your team may encourage you to have your surgery as soon as possible. There are certainly benefits of an expedient surgery, negatives to delaying surgery, and, also, benefits to delaying surgery to explore additional options. In scheduling and having your surgery as soon as possible, you limit the amount your tumor can grow in size before you have it removed, if it is a fast-growing tumor. In delaying surgery, you run the risk of your tumor invading other critical areas of your brain. By delaying your surgery, you allow yourself time to research clinical trials, as you may not qualify for certain clinical trials once a craniotomy, or other procedure, is performed.

Some questions you may ask to help you make an informed decision:

  • How aggressive is my tumor’s growth?
  • What parts of my brain are currently affected by my tumor and what areas are at risk if my tumor continues to grow?
  • What clinical trials will no longer be available to me once my craniotomy is performed? (go to trials.braintumor.org to search for yourself)
  • What possible deficits could I experience based on the location of my tumor?

Getting your home ready for your return

  • Mobility adjustments
  • In-home care?
  • Where will you sleep?
  • How easy will it be for you to get to the restroom?
  • How easy will it be for you to get to the kitchen?
  • What care might you need after surgery? In-home care? Rehabilitative therapy? Mobility (ramps, raised-height toilet seat, walker, wheelchair?)
  • Will you need to arrange for childcare?

Health Insurance questions, considerations, etc.

  • Do you need to call your insurance company to confirm coverage?
  • Do you know how long you’re able to stay at the hospital?
  • Do you have in-home care benefits? If so, for how long?
  • Who will arrange post-surgical care?
  • Can your insurance company provide an estimation of cost?
  • Will you need and will your insurance company provide vocational and physical rehabilitation?
  • Will your insurance cover the cost of a second opinion?

Legal Preparation Considerations

  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Proxy