Now in its sixteenth year, International Brain Tumour Awareness Week runs from October 29 until November 5. The annual event is a time to truly raise awareness of the impact brain tumours can cause.
In this article, we outline what a brain tumour is, some of the treatments available, and how live-in care can help you through brain tumour diagnosis and treatment.
What is a brain tumour?
A brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain. There are over 150 brain tumour types, including malignant and cancerous benign.
Malignant tumours are cancerous. This means the cells are cancerous and can spread to other tissues and organs.
Benign tumours are non-cancerous. A benign tumour is made up of cells that aren’t a threat to invading other tissues, and the tumour cells are contained within the tumour.
You might also hear the terms ‘primary brain tumour’ and ‘secondary brain tumour’.
What is a primary brain tumour?
Primary brain tumours develop either from cells inside the brain or from cells that make up the covering layers of the brain. Usually they do not spread to other parts of the body.
What is a secondary brain tumour?
Secondary brain tumours spread to the brain from cancer cells in other parts of the body, such as breast cancer cells or lung cancer cells.
Symptoms of a brain tumour
Typically, the first sign of a brain tumour is a progressive headache, which is sometimes worse in the morning or when bending over or coughing.
Other common symptoms include:
- Speech and hearing difficulties
- Weak limbs that affect walking
- Impaired vision
- Confusion and memory loss
- Personality changes
It’s important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms so that a cause can be identified. If your doctor is unable to find a cause, they might refer you to a neurologist (brain specialist) for further tests, such as a brain scan.
Treatment for a brain tumour
The best treatment for you will depend on several factors, including:
- The type of brain tumour you have
- The size of the tumour
- The part of the brain that is affected
- Your general health
- Any symptoms you have.
The main treatments for a brain tumour include:
Brain tumour surgery aims to remove as much of the tumour as is safely possible. It can also help to relieve symptoms. However, surgery is not always possible and will depends on where the tumour is in the brain and how big it is.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill tumour cells. It may be given instead of surgery, if surgery is not possible. Or you may have radiotherapy after surgery to control the tumour.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to control the tumour. You may be treated with chemotherapy alone. Or you may have chemotherapy after surgery. Chemotherapy can also be given before, after or with radiotherapy treatment.
Treatement side-effects will depend on how big your tumour is and where it is, the type of treatments you have and your own general health.
Palliative care for brain tumour patients
Palliative care is designed to improve your quality of life and make you feel better physically and emotionally. It can include things like:
- Help with keeping active and managing day-to-day life
- Family support
- Complementary therapies, such as massage or aromatherapy
- Advice about practical matters like financial entitlements
- End-of-life care
Brain tumour palliative care is not designed to control or cure your illness. But it can help to give you independence, comfort, and support.
Palliative care is for anyone with a life-limiting condition. This means a condition, illness or disease which is progressive and cannot be cured.
End-of-life live-in care for brain tumour patients
An incurable brain tumour diagnosis can be devastating for both the patient and their family. It can be overwhelming, most especially towards the end of their life.
End-of-life care is a form of palliative care that provides the support needed towards the end of someone’s life. It allows them to pass in the most peaceful and comfortable way.
While some people spend their final days in a hospital, hospice, or nursing home, end-of-life live-in care at home is an option for those who wish to spend their last moments within their own home and surrounded by their loved ones.
A fully trained live-in carer can offer regular support with many tasks to make you or a loved one feel comfortable and safe during this difficult time. This includes:
- Personal care: support with bathing and showering
- Support with toileting, including changing continence pads or using a commode
- Mobility support, such as help moving position in bed and help with standing or sitting
- Administering or prompting medication, and supporting with pain management
- Changing bedding and housekeeping duties
- Preparing meals and snacks to taste and dietary requirements
- Complex care such as support with catheters, stomas and PEG feeding
- Ongoing companionship and emotional support
A live-in carer stays in the home with you and is on-hand to provide support when it’s needed most.
Mumby’s live-in care for brain tumour patients
Mumby’s provide end-of-life care and palliative care at home.
Our fabulous end-of-life team are shortlisted for the ‘End-of-life Team of the Year’ in the Caring UK Awards 2022.
Receiving compassionate cancer care in the safety and familiarity of your own home has far-reaching benefits in improving your well-being.
It might be that you need cancer live-in care after a period of treatment or surgery to help with everyday tasks and more involved personal care. You may be looking for respectful palliative care to support your loved one to live the rest of their life in a familiar and comforting home. Mumby’s compassionate live-in carers are trained to give highly personalised and flexible support where it is needed whilst allowing the space that you and your family need.
Our high-quality live-in cancer care helps your loved one to live a peaceful, fulfilled and meaningful life in the comfort of their own home. A Mumby’s one-to-one live-in carer can provide nursing support, symptom management, help around the home, personal care, companionship and emotional support.
We strive to provide a well-matched carer to help with tasks that are difficult, get the chores done and chat about shared interests or memories that will boost morale.