Rehabilitation & Follow-up Care
What is rehabilitation after brain tumor treatment?
Since brain tumors may develop in the parts of the brain that regulate motor skills, voice, vision, and thought, rehabilitation can be a necessary part of recovery. Your doctor can refer you to:
- Physical therapy to help you recover lost motor skills or muscle strength
- Occupational therapy to help you get back to regular day-to-day tasks, including work following a brain tumor or other illness
- Speech therapy by speech pathologists to help if you are having trouble speaking
- Tutoring school-age children to help them deal with changes in their memory and thinking after a brain tumor
What is brain tumor follow-up care?
Care for people who have been diagnosed with a brain tumor will not end when treatment is finished. Your healthcare team will continue to track the tumor ‘s recurrence, manage side effects and monitor the overall health which is called follow-up care. Your follow-up care can consist of routine physical examinations, medical tests, or both. Doctors are keen to keep track of your recovery in coming months and years.
Rehabilitation of cancer may be recommended and it involves wife range of services including physical therapy, pain management, career counselling, dietary preparation and emotional counselling. Rehabilitation seeks to help people regain control over various aspects of their lives and remain as independent and productive as possible.
You can have the same or different symptoms to brain cancer that you encountered during your initial diagnosis. Speaking to your health care team about all of the symptoms that you experience is important. These include:
- Personality Changes
- Mood Swings
- Cognitive Changes
- Mass Effect
How do you recover post brain tumor treatment?
Screening for Brain tumor Recurrence
Periodic brain scans are recommended after initial brain tumor treatment is complete. This is because after treatment, brain tumors can recur or re-grow. When the tumor grows again, your doctor may recommend further treatment options to either remove the tumor or shrink it.
A doctor who is familiar with your medical history can provide you with detailed information about the risk of recurrence during the follow-up treatment. The health care professional will ask detailed questions about your health. Many patients may have brain tumor blood tests or MRI scans done as part of routine follow-up care and may depend on a variety of factors including the type and grade of tumor at initial diagnosis and the methods of treatment.
Many brain tumors are likely to recur and you should be checked periodically for new signs along with regular MRI scans. The frequency of your follow-up visits and scans depends on the tumor type and other factors. The healthcare team can discuss the precise schedule with you and proceed accordingly with the recurrence treatment.
Managing Long-term Side Effects
Most people while undergoing treatment tend to experience side effects. Nevertheless, survivors still find it troubling that certain side effects that persist beyond the treatment period. Some are considered as long-term side effects. Other side effects which are called late effects can develop months or even years later. Long-term and late effects may include physical as well as emotional changes.
Talk to your doctor about the risk of developing these side effects based on the tumor type, treatment plan and overall health. When you have a treatment proven to have certain late effects, you might have some physical examinations, scans, or blood testing to help identify and treat these effects.
A brain tumor and its treatment may affect the functioning of the brain and general well-being. Hence, it is important to assess the quality of life, cognitive and functional abilities through specialized tests by your health care team especially neuropsychologist (a psychologist who has advanced expertise in the skill and actions of the brain).
These evaluations could identify situations when specific rehabilitative therapies would be helpful. Options for rehabilitative therapy include:
Such tests can identify circumstances where different rehabilitation therapies will be helpful. These include:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Medications to reduce fatigue or enhance memory
- Counselling with a social worker
- Neuropsychological testing (assess behavioral and mental changes)