Information Sheets

Information sheets feature answers to commonly asked questions on a range of brain tumour topics.

Information sheet topics

All Information Sheets are provided for information purposes only, and do not represent advice, an endorsement or a recommendation, with respect to any product, service or business, and/or the claims and properties thereof, by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Always consult your health care team if you have questions about your medical care and treatment options.

Cannabis

Cannabis and Brain Tumours

Controversial, stigmatized, medical breakthrough, depending on who you talk to, cannabis can be one or more of those things. We wondered what the latest research says about cannabis. See also:

Information from the Government of Canada

Health Canada information for Consumers (PDF)

Health Canada information for HCPs 

Cannabis FAQs (PDF)

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Causes or Potential Causes of Brain Tumours

Cell phones

In recent years, the number of cell phone users in Canada has grown dramatically and there are five billion users worldwide. Some research suggests a possible link between the use of cell phones and brain tumours but much more research is needed.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Complementary Medicine

A growing number of Canadians living with a brain tumour are turning towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat their symptoms and disease, improve their quality of life, and gain hope.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Non-Pharmacological Pain Management for People Diagnosed with a Brain Tumour

Pain associated with a brain tumour diagnosis may come from changes in your body, or as a result from common treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or surgery. The type and severity of pain may vary from person to person. There are many different treatments available, and most often pain may be effectively managed.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

For Caregivers

Bill of Rights for the Brain Tumour Caregiver

Caregivers need to know and understand that the better that they take care of themselves, the better that they can take care of their patient. We recommend that caregivers download the Bill of Rights that we have developed with thanks to a team of volunteers.

Read this Information Sheet

Ways to help a caregiver

When someone asks, “How can I help?” or “Let me know how I can help?” consider printing this list off to give to your friend, family member, neighbour, or colleague who offers to help. Alternatively, you can create your own list that is personal to you and your loved one.

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Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Having open communication with your health care team is important in making informed decisions. The following suggested questions are meant for you and your family to think about and discuss with various members of your medical team. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you.

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Talking with Your Child / Teen About a Brain Tumour Diagnosis

The ideas in the PDF below may help you talk with your child / teen about a brain tumour diagnosis. We suggest that you use the word “tumour” openly. It will help him / her be more familiar with the word and more at ease when asking questions.

Read this Information Sheet

For Parents

Helping Your Child Understand What is Happening

Being in the hospital removes a child from the familiar surroundings that often help them feel comfortable, confident and in control. Loss of this control may result in your child feeling confused, worried, scared, withdrawn, frustrated or angry. As your child’s caregiver, there are things that you can do to ease your child’s anxiety.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Your Child's Return to School

School is a big part of a child’s life and plays an important part in returning to a normal routine during and after brain tumour treatment. Attending school can help children feel good about themselves and hopeful for the future.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Health & Wellness

Importance of Physical Strength

Physical fitness plays an important role in everyone’s life, and is vital for brain tumour patients as well. Completing exercise is important to your overall health to keep your muscles and body systems strong.

Lost in Transition

Change is constant – from the day we are born, our environment is in a constant process of change. For the most part, we are wired to adapt to these changes. Mostly – until a major life event that tends to disrupt the normal ups and downs along the journey.

Managing Depression

For brain tumour patients and their families, the news of a diagnosis can be devastating. Sometimes feeling overwhelmed, not knowing how to move forward and/or fear of what the future may bring can lead to depression, especially for patients.

Mindfulness and the Brain Tumour Journey

Mindfulness is about being fully present with your direct experience, whatever you are thinking, doing, or feeling – in the here and now.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Wheelchair Exercise — Yes You Can!

Exercise is a vital part of our overall health and well-being. Research shows that exercise can offer many positive benefits for those living with cancer.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Supportive Care & Palliative Care, Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning

The diagnosis of a brain tumour brings a period of rapid change for you and your family. You are faced with new symptoms, surgery, a new diagnosis and treatment decisions, all in a very short period of time. Given these realities, it is extremely important for you and your family to understand your illness and the treatment options available.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Are “Palliative Care” and “Supportive Care” one and the same?

“Palliative care” and “supportive care” are often used interchangeably leading to confusion among health care professionals, patients and families. Find out whether this should be the case in this Information Sheet.

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Treatment

Care Map for patients with High-Grade Gliomas

Walk the path of the brain tumour journey on the map, and then find more detailed explanations of the corresponding stages of the journey in the pages that follow it.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

How is Bobath Therapy relevant for Persons with Brain Tumours?

Bobath therapy was developed by a physiotherapist named Berta Bobath and her husband Karl starting in the 1940’s. The Bobath’s recognized the brain’s potential for neuroplasticity; the ability of the brain to change.

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Scanxiety….is it real?

Some people might assume that after someone has endured treatment for a brain tumour undergoing a follow-up scan such as an MRI or CT scan would be easy. For many, this cannot be farther from the truth.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Side Effects and Treatment Efficacy

What if I’m being treated for a brain tumour but I don’t experience any side effects? Does that mean the treatment isn’t working? These questions and more are answered in this information sheet

Download this Information Sheet (PDF)

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a specialized radiation technique designed to deliver single, large doses of radiation to small areas within the brain.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Stroke-Like Migraine After Radiotherapy (SMART) Syndrome

Advances in treatment for brain tumours have resulted in longer survival for patients. Unfortunately, as patients live longer, some will also develop late effects of treatment. One of these late treatment-related complications is SMART syndrome.

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The Effects of Chemotherapy on Your Body

Our friends at the Healthline in the United States have kindly shared this Infographic with us that shows the effects chemotherapy can have on your body.

View this website (opens in a new tab)

The 'Wait and See' Approach

When someone is first diagnosed with a brain tumour, there is a natural desire to want to pursue active treatment. As a result, it may seem confusing or counter-intuitive when your surgeon advises you that the best approach at that time is to continue with clinical and imaging-based surveillance and not to undergo an operation – a ‘wait and see’ approach.

What Your Pharmacy Can Do For You

Pharmacies within hospitals differ considerably from community pharmacies. Some hospital pharmacists may have more complex clinical medication management issues, whereas pharmacists in community pharmacies often have more complex business and customer relations issues.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Other

Brain Tumours and Cognition

The brain is a complex organ with many different functions; it controls your physical being, emotions and thoughts. If you have changes to your thinking, in particular, these often take a back seat to medical concerns. However, these same changes have a big impact on quality of life.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Brain Tumours and Hearing Challenges

The hearing symptoms related to brain tumours vary depending on the size, location, type and what the tumour is made of. Learn more about audiology in this Information Sheet.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Cognitive Effects of Brain Tumours and Treatment

All sensations, perceptions, emotions, experiences, movements and memories involve the brain. Individuals diagnosed with brain tumours often report difficulty focusing, processing what they read, finding words when speaking, recalling event details, completing tasks in a timely fashion, remembering why they entered a room, and/or coordinating movements.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Driving After a Brain Tumour Diagnosis

For many people, driving is one of their most valued activities. When faced with the diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumour, a health care provider may assess if the tumour impacts an individual’s ability to drive.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Getting a Second Opinion

Being diagnosed with a brain tumour is a difficult time and even after you have seen a specialist there may be some unanswered questions. Usually, these questions will slowly be answered as treatment unfolds and you begin to seek a deeper understanding of your illness. However, you may feel that you would like an opinion from another expert in the field of brain tumours as you decide on the best treatment option(s).

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Sunset with birds flyingMedical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

MAiD is a legal medical service in Canada, whereby physicians or nurse practitioners (in provinces where this is allowed) help eligible patients fulfil their wishes to end their suffering.

With recent changes to the Criminal Code, Canadians can ask for medical assistance in dying. You must meet certain conditions in order to be eligible for this assistance. Physicians, nurse practitioners and other people who are directly involved must follow:
The Government of Canada provides more information about medical assistance in dying.

Optimizing Communication and Cognition

Communication is an essential part of who we are as human beings. Learn more about how if an individual has cognitive difficulties, it will impact their ability to speak, understand, read, and write.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)

Psuedo Progression (GB)

What is Pseudo-Progression Following Treatment for Glioblastoma?

Glioblastoma (GB) is a rapidly dividing brain tumour. Learn more about the standard of care and how post-treatment changes in the tumour has become more apparent as Pseudo-Progression.

Read this Information Sheet (PDF)