Brain Tumors: Team Members and Common Terms

Brain Tumors: Team Members and Common Terms

You are being treated for a brain tumor. During this time, you will have a healthcare team. The members of this team will work with you. They will help guide you through your treatment choices. They will address your questions and concerns. And they will give you support. Below is a list of who may be on your healthcare team. Below you will also find a list of words. These are words you will hear during the course of your care.

Members of Your Team

  • Medical oncologist. A doctor who diagnoses cancer and treats it with chemotherapy.

  • Neurologist. A doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases of the nervous system.

  • Neuro-oncologist. A doctor who treats tumors of the nervous system.

  • Neurosurgeon. A surgeon who operates on the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

  • Nurse. A person who provides patient care, teaching, and support.

  • Nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. A nurse with special training. The nurse may help the doctor manage a patient’s symptoms. He or she may adjust medications and give medical exams.

  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Specialists who help patients with strength and motor skills. They help patients relearn daily tasks, including language and swallowing skills.

  • Radiation oncologist. A doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer.

Words You May Hear During Treatment

  • Benign: Slow-growing, not cancerous

  • Intracranial pressure (ICP): Pressure within the brain

  • Malignant: Growing quickly, cancerous

  • Necrosis: Dead tissue

  • Nervous system: The brain and spinal cord, and the nerves branching from them

  • Pathology: The study of changes in the cells and organs of the body that cause or are a result of disease

  • Primary: Refers to the original tumor as opposed to one that spread from somewhere else in the body

  • Stereotactic: A method of locating specific sites in the brain using computer software, a headframe, and imaging tests