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How to Help Someone with a Brain Tumor

People who have a brain tumor may have trouble with their ability to think, remember, reason, and concentrate. Follow these tips to help your loved one and reduce frustration in your family:

  • Be patient, understanding, and a good listener.

  • Offer to help with housework, shopping, childcare, and meals.

  • Help your loved one remember important appointments, doctor visits, and other tasks.

  • Drive your loved one to important appointments.

  • Become mindful of household safety. For instance, ensure the oven and coffee pot are shut off after use.

  • Help the child with a brain tumor remember to do his or her homework at night, and to bring completed homework and books back to school.

  • Organize medical records so that they are easily accessible for doctor appointments.

  • Help with insurance issues and forms related to time off work.

The National Cancer Institute says that one of the most important roles family members can play is helping others understand your loved one's symptoms. Many times patients look fine because some of cancer's symptoms may be "invisible" until the person faces certain challenging situations. These might occur when the person tries to remember names, directions, or how to do a task. Knowing that you will be a buffer to stressful interactions can be reassuring to your loved one.

Finally, ask your loved one's doctor what can be done to help improve cognitive health. Cognitive treatments may be especially important after cancer treatment ends.