Although treatment for brain cancer is a critical component of potentially beating the disease, there are other types of treatment that are often necessary and found at specialty centers. Supportive services are designed to help people with brain cancer address mental, physical, and emotional needs during treatment and beyond.
1. Nutritional Services
Nutritional services is more than speaking with a nutritionist, it often involves consultations with a gastrointestinal, your cancer team, and other members of the medical community to help you find a diet that works to alleviate any side effects you might face during and after treatment. Although everyone responds to chemotherapy differently, it is not uncommon for people to have nausea and diarrhea, especially in the days following chemo. This can make completing treatment and regaining your strength afterward harder. Nutritional services can recommend foods or supplementation that might be easier on your gastrointestinal system to help you maintain your strength and minimize the chance of developing other health problems.
2. Pain Management
The need for pain management can be especially helpful in brain cancer and if the cancer has spread to other areas, such as the liver or bone. Pain management is more than prescribing pain pills, but finding different approaches to treating cancer-related pain so you can continue to live your life as normally as possible and remain comfortable. Depending on the severity of your pain, your pain management team may prescribe narcotic medications. You might also have the option of having a pain management specialist come to your home if you can no longer return to the center. Having in-home pain management allows people in advanced stages of cancer, especially those with a terminal prognosis, to stay in their home as long as possible. Your pain management team might recommend other pain control methods, such as a pain pump or patches if you cannot take pills.
While fighting cancer or after you have gone into remission, it is not uncommon to experience changes in your mind and body from the cancer or treatments. Since the brain is a sensitive organ, some people might have issues with thinking, memory, balance, or paralysis during or after brain cancer. Working with a rehabilitation specialist can help some people adapt to changes in their mental and physical functioning. Mentally, you might perform tasks that are designed to enhance your memory or make it easier to remember everyday tasks. For physical limitations, rehabilitation often involves specific exercises to help you regain strength and lost functions, in addition to using any assistive devices.
Beyond treatment for brain cancer, support services are critical for helping cancer patients throughout treatment and even after their cancer has gone into remission. In many cases, treatment at a specialized center can provide you with a wide array of additional services. For more information, contact your local brain and lung cancer center support team.