Brain Cancer: Questions to Ask



  • What type of brain tumor do I have (benign, or malignant)?
  • What grade (1, 2, 3, 4) of brain tumor do I have? 
  • What are the chances that my cancer will return after treatment?


  • Do I need an MRI, CT scan or biopsy?
  • Do I need any additional tests in order to plan my treatment?
  • What tests will I have during my follow-up visits after treatment?


  • What are my options for standard treatment?
  • Should I see another doctor to assist in my care, such as a thoracic surgeon or radiation oncologist? What is the role of each doctor in my care?
  • Besides treating my cancer, what can be done to treat my symptoms?
  • Are there any other treatment options available to me?
  • What are the names of the drugs, and how are they given?
  • What are the side effects of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy? What side effects or problems should I look for?
  • What can be done to lessen these side effects?
  • How often will I need to visit the doctor to receive the chemotherapy, and how long will each visit take?
  • Will I be able to go to and return from this treatment on my own, or should I arrange to have assistance?
  • How will my treatment be planned? What types of scans will be used?
  • Where will I receive radiation therapy?
  • How often will I receive radiation therapy?
  • How much time will each treatment take?
  • Will my lungs be able to tolerate surgery or radiation?
  • Is it possible for me to receive chemotherapy with my radiation therapy? If so, what are the added side effects of giving the chemotherapy at the same time, compared with one after another?

Clinical Trials

  • What other treatments are available to me through clinical trials?
  • How will my experience differ if I enroll in a clinical trial, as opposed to standard treatment (different risks, extra tests or time commitment, schedule)?
  • What is the goal of this clinical trial? Is this a phase I, II or III clinical trial? What does this mean?
  • Is there anything more I can do to reduce the chance that my cancer will return?
  • How often should I visit the doctor to follow up?