Life After Malignant Brain Tumor

You've been diagnosed with a brain tumor and it is determined to be malignant or cancerous... now what? Just as with any other type of brain tumor, your treatment will be determined by the type of tumor, it's location, symptoms and your general health, among other things. Your follow up will depend on the type of treatment decided. 

Subsequent treatment 

  • In order to make an accurate diagnosis of a type of tumor that is suspected to be malignant, a craniotomy, or brain surgery, for removal or biopsy of the tumor is necessary. - Common Treatment/Having Surgery
The tumor will be sent to the pathology department where it will be examined under the microscope to determine multiple characteristics. These characteristics will assist your doctor in deciding what type of treatment will be most appropriate. 

In hospital 
  • Some treatments may be started during your hospital admission. They include radiation, chemotherapy.
  • You may also receive the following rehabilitation therapies: 
    • Physical therapists will assess and, if necessary, help the patient to improve their ability to walk safely and climb stairs before being released from the hospital. They may also help the patient improve strength and balance. 
    • Occupational therapists will assess the patient’s ability to perform more detailed activities involved in "real life" such as getting dressed, using the bathroom and daily personal hygiene.  
    • Speech language pathologists will assess and, if necessary, help improve problems with speech, language or thinking. They are also able to assess patients who may have problems with swallowing. 
After discharge 
  • Treatment is also able to be continued on an outpatient basis. These include radiation, chemotherapy, PT/OT/Speech Therapy, as previously stated. In addition, if you are unable to perform normal everyday activities without assistance you may be transferred to a rehabilitation facility for a brief period of time before then being discharged to home. Your doctor with discuss your discharge plan with you and your care team will provide a written plan before you leave the hospital. 

Follow-up 

  • Your continued care, or follow up, after your hospital stay for a brain tumor may involve several different strategies. A malignant brain tumor most probably will require further treatment to insure that after the tumor is removed any remnants of the tumor, or tumor cells that may be unseen, will be exposed to chemotherapy and/or radiation to slow progression and to discourage new growth. 


Providing support

  • If the cancer has progressed, treatment may focus on relieving pain and other symptoms. This is called palliative or supportive care. 
  • Comfort measures, safety measures, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other treatments may improve the patient's quality of life. Some people may want to seek legal advice to help them create an advance directive and power of attorney for health care. 
  • Integrative health care brings the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components of health into the treatment plan, and beyond. Integrative therapies support the health and healing of the whole person. Treatment and supportive areas may include diet, exercise, stress reduction, lifestyle enhancements, massage, acupuncture, herbs, mind-body therapies and spiritual growth, among others. 
Emotional 
  • A brain tumor diagnosis can be frightening and confusing physically and emotionally, as well as financially. The confusion of a new diagnosis is overwhelming yet it is very important to gather all the information you can, organize it in your mind, and therefore be better able to effectively communicate with your caregivers. 
  • Knowing your potential plan of care allows you to organize your life, your thoughts and your means of support appropriately. It also helps to identify which questions to ask your caregivers. Your caregivers are your greatest source of support on every level and knowing that you can utilize them while feeling comfortable doing so is incredibly valuable. 
  • In addition to your direct care team (doctors, nurses, therapists) who are well equipped to meet many of your physical needs, YNHH has a Social Work Department. Your social worker will meet with you, upon request, to assist you in understanding your body and mind’s reaction to your diagnosis. He or she can help you identify areas in which you might need assistance and provide connections for the best type of support for you. 

Financial 

  • While our social workers are able to provide you with referrals for financial support YNHH also has a number of financial assistance programs. 
  • https://www.ynhh.org/patients-visitors/billing-insurance/financial-assistance.aspx 
  • Financial Assistance Programs 
    • Yale New Haven Health understands that it can be difficult for some patients to afford paying their hospital bills. That is why we have a variety of financial assistance programs designed to help. Patients are required to complete a financial assistance application and provide requested documents to verify financial need. 
    • To learn more, obtain a free copy of our Financial Assistance Policy and application, or for help completing an application contact Patient Financial and Admitting Services or go to www.ynhhs.org/billpay or visit us in our Admitting offices at: Yale-New Haven Hospital 20 York Street, New Haven, CT; Bridgeport Hospital 267 Grant Street, Bridgeport, CT; or Greenwich Hospital, 5 Perryridge Road, Greenwich, CT. 
• Free Care Program 
  • You may be eligible for free care if your family earns less than 2½ times the Federal Poverty Level, you apply for State Assistance (Medicaid) and receive a valid written decision from the State; and you complete a Yale New Haven Health financial assistance application. 

• Discounted Care 

  • You may be eligible for discounted care if you do not have any type of health insurance and you complete a Yale New Haven Health financial assistance application. 
  • These programs cover medically necessary care and cover ONLY Yale-New Haven Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital & Greenwich Hospital bills. Patients eligible for financial assistance will not be charged more than the amount generally billed to patients with insurance for emergency or other medically necessary care. Yale New Haven Health will respond to each application in writing. If your application is rejected, you can re-apply at any time. Additional free bed funds become available every year. 
• Financial Counseling 
  • Additional programs are available to help patients and families in need of financial assistance. We can often help you find out if you qualify for federal or state funds to cover your hospital costs. Our agency coordinators are also available to help patients apply for Medicaid benefits. Call to speak with or schedule a free, private and confidential appointment with one of our patient account representatives.