Oncology social workers help you cope with the emotional and practical challenges of brain cancer. Contact us at 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about counseling.
Learn more about how CancerCare Resource Navigation can help you address barriers to care.
Find resources and support to manage your financial concerns. Limited assistance from CancerCare® is available to eligible families for cancer-related costs.
Connect with others in our free support groups led by oncology social workers.
Learn about and view the full calendar of our free community programs.
CancerCare offers specialized programs to address specific populations and concerns.
Connect Education Workshops
Listen in by telephone or online as leading experts in oncology provide up-to-date information about cancer-related issues in one-hour workshops. Podcasts are also available.
- Caring for Your Loved One with Cancer, Apr 3, 2023
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, May 2, 2023
- Understanding How Health Care Disparities May Influence Your Cancer Treatment and Care: With Tips and Strategies to Find the Best Cancer Treatment and Health Care Team for You, May 15, 2023
- Update on COVID for People Living with Cancer & Their Caregivers, May 22, 2023
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Its Importance in Managing Cancer, May 24, 2023
- Understanding Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers, Jun 26, 2023
- Highlights from the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting – “Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation", Aug 4, 2022
- Glioblastoma in Adults: Treatment Updates, Apr 21, 2022
- Update on Glioblastoma in Adults, Mar 18, 2021
- Highlights from the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting: Unite and Conquer: Accelerating Progress Together, Jul 30, 2020
- Update on Glioblastoma in Adults, Apr 23, 2020
- Understanding Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers, Jan 23, 2023
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Its Importance in Managing Cancer, Nov 9, 2022
- Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Aug 22, 2022
- Chemotherapy Treatment Side Effects: Prevention & Management, Jun 10, 2022
- Diverse Populations Participating in Decisions about Your Care with Your Health Care Team, May 23, 2022
- Clinical Trials: How They Transform the Treatment of Cancer, May 18, 2022
- What’s New in Precision Medicine, May 11, 2022
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Why It Is So Important in Managing Cancer, May 4, 2022
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, May 3, 2022
- Managing the Side Effects of Immunotherapy, Apr 27, 2022
- Caring for Your Loved One with Cancer, Apr 25, 2022
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, Mar 23, 2022
- Understanding How Health Care Disparities May Influence Your Cancer Treatment and Care: With Tips & Strategies to Find the Best Cancer Treatment & Health Care Team for You, Mar 21, 2022
- Emerging Importance of Telemedicine/Telehealth Appointments in Communicating with Your Health Care Team, Mar 16, 2022
- CAR T-Cell Therapy: What's New, Mar 15, 2022
- COVID-19, Omicron & Delta Variants, COVID-19 Vaccines & Booster Vaccines: Revised Guidelines for People Living with Cancer and Their Loved Ones, Feb 7, 2022
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Jan 24, 2022
- Preventing, Managing & Treating Infection in Adults Living with Cancer, Oct 25, 2021
- Clinical Trials: How They Transform the Treatment of Cancer, Aug 25, 2021
- What’s New in Precision Medicine, Jun 30, 2021
- How Health Care Disparities May Influence Your Cancer Treatment & Care, Jun 21, 2021
- Caring for Your Loved One with Cancer, Jun 8, 2021
- Managing the Side Effects of Immunotherapy, May 26, 2021
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, May 19, 2021
- What’s New in Diagnostic Technologies for People Living with Solid Cancer Tumors, May 17, 2021
- Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Why It Is So Important in Managing Cancer, Apr 14, 2021
- Update on Clinical Trials: How They Work, Apr 7, 2021
- Emerging Importance of Telemedicine/Telehealth Appointments in Communicating with Your Health Care Team, Mar 31, 2021
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Mar 15, 2021
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, Feb 9, 2021
- The 9/11 Community, Cancer & COVID-19, Jan 25, 2021
- How Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers Improve Treatment Decisions for People Living with Cancer, Dec 7, 2020
- What We Now Know about COVID-19: Revised Guidelines for People Living with Cancer, Nov 16, 2020
- Cancer and Flu Shots, Nov 9, 2020
- Caregiving for Your Loved One Living with Cancer, Nov 3, 2020
- Preventing and Managing Infections in Adults Living with Cancer, Oct 26, 2020
- Managing the Cost of Living with Cancer, Sep 23, 2020
- Veterans Living with Cancer, Jun 26, 2020
- Treatment Adherence: Taking Your Pills on Schedule – Why It Is So Important, Jun 24, 2020
- Understanding Diagnostic Technologies and Biomarkers, Jun 22, 2020
- What are Biosimilars? Understanding Their Role in Cancer Treatment: Current and Future Perspectives, Jun 18, 2020
- Current Perspectives in Cancer Survivorship, Jun 16, 2020
- The New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Emerging Guidelines for People Living & Coping with Cancer, Jun 15, 2020
- Managing the Side Effects of Immunotherapy, May 6, 2020
- Understanding the Role of Immunotherapy in Treating Cancer, Apr 29, 2020
- For Caregivers: Care Coordination for Your Loved One Living with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Apr 22, 2020
- The New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updated Guidelines for People Coping with Cancer, Apr 20, 2020
- Caregiving for Your Loved One with Cancer, Apr 14, 2020
- Participating in Decisions about Your Care, Apr 8, 2020
- The New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidelines for People Coping with Cancer, Mar 30, 2020
- Cancer and The Workplace: Understanding Your Legal Protections, Mar 25, 2020
- New Perspectives in Clinical Trial Research, Mar 20, 2020
- Understanding the Costs of Care and Your Health Care Coverage, Mar 18, 2020
- Trends in Oncology and Treatment Planning: What You Need to Know, Mar 4, 2020
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Mar 2, 2020
- Taking Your Treatment on Schedule: Its Importance in Managing Cancer, Feb 26, 2020
- Care for Your Bones During & After Cancer Treatment: Tips to Improve Bone Health, Nov 18, 2019
- Preventing Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting, Oct 28, 2019
- Participating in Decisions about Your Care, Jun 19, 2019
- New Trends in Cancer Survivorship, Jun 18, 2019
- For Caregivers: Care Coordination for Your Loved One Living with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Jun 17, 2019
- Understanding the Costs of Care and Your Health Care Coverage, Jun 12, 2019
- Cancer and the Workplace: Understanding Your Legal Protections, May 29, 2019
- Managing Eye and Vision Changes Related to Cancer Treatments, Apr 15, 2019
- Joys and Challenges of Pets in Your Home When You Have Cancer, Apr 8, 2019
- Caregiving for Your Loved One with Cancer, Mar 19, 2019
- Current Perspectives on Cancer Survivorship, Dec 11, 2018
- Treatment-Related Rash and Dry Skin, Jun 20, 2018
- Mind Body Techniques to Cope with the Stresses of Cancer, Nov 15, 2017
- For Caregivers: Care Coordination for Your Loved One Living with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Jun 14, 2017
- Living with Cancer Throughout The Cancer Journey, Mar 10, 2017
- Managing Sensory Disruptions During Cancer Treatments, Dec 5, 2016
- For Health Care Professionals: Care Coordination for Older Men Living with Cancer, Aug 23, 2016
- Managing the Costs of Living with Cancer, Jun 8, 2016
- Nutrition and Healthy Eating Tips During and After Cancer Treatments, Feb 1, 2016
- What’s New in Managing Blood Clots During Cancer Treatments, Oct 30, 2015
- For Health Care Professionals: Care Coordination for Older Men Living with Cancer, Jul 14, 2015
- Healthy Eating and Managing Weight Changes During Cancer Treatment, Apr 13, 2015
- Highlights of the Affordable Care Act, Nov 11, 2014
- Managing Cancer Pain: What You Need to Know, Mar 21, 2014
- Young Adult Survivorship: Fertility, Sexuality and Intimacy, Jun 28, 2013
- Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for People Living with Cancer, Dec 12, 2012
- Managing Post-Treatment Neuropathy, Jul 17, 2012
- Recapturing Joy and Finding Meaning, May 15, 2012
- Planning Your Comfort and Care at End of Life, May 10, 2012
- Using Mind/Body Techniques to Cope with the Stress of Survivorship, Apr 24, 2012
- Nutrition, Physical Activity and You: A Guide for People Living With Cancer, Nov 15, 2011
- Fear of Recurrence and Late Effects: Living with Uncertainty, Jul 12, 2011
- Stress Management for Caregivers: Taking Care of Yourself Physically and Emotionally, Jun 14, 2011
- The Challenges of Coping with Cancer and Other Health Problems, Jun 1, 2011
- Weight Changes After Cancer Treatment: Why is it Happening and What Can I Do About It, May 10, 2011
- Mouth Pain and Discomfort: All You Need to Know About Mouth Sores and Oral Mucositis, Apr 27, 2011
- Helping Children and Teens Understand When a Parent or Loved One Has Cancer, Apr 20, 2011
- Chemobrain: The Impact of Cancer Treatments on Memory, Thinking and Attention, Apr 12, 2011
- Survivors Too: Communicating With and Among Family, Friends and Loved Ones, Jul 13, 2010
- Communicating with Your Health Care Team After Treatment: Making the Most of Your Visit, May 18, 2010
- Trouble Sleeping? Sleep Better to Feel Better: Tips You Can Use, Apr 13, 2010
- Helping Teachers and Educators Support Siblings of Children with Cancer, Oct 8, 2009
- Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy, Jul 16, 2009
- Survivors Too: Family, Friends and Loved Ones - Managing the Fatigue of Caregiving, Jun 23, 2009
- The Importance of Nutrition and Physical Activity, May 19, 2009
- For Parents, Caregivers and Professionals: Helping Brothers and Sisters of Children Living with Cancer, May 14, 2009
- Dental Health During Cancer Treatments, Apr 24, 2009
- Managing the Stress of Survivorship, Apr 14, 2009
- Medical Emergencies in Cancer Treatment, Apr 1, 2009
- Balancing Cancer and Careers: Living and Working with Cancer, Mar 12, 2009
- For Caregivers: Coping with Holidays, Special Occasions and Birthdays, Throughout the Year, Dec 12, 2008
- Survivors Too: Family, Friends and Loved Ones, Jun 24, 2008
- Rediscovering Intimacy in Your Relationships Following Treatment, May 13, 2008
- The Importance of Communicating with Your Doctor About Follow-Up Care, Apr 22, 2008
- Finding Hope and Meaning After Treatment, Jun 19, 2007
- My Treatment is Over: Why Do I Feel So Alone and Sad?, May 15, 2007
- Neuropathy and Joint Aches: New Post Treatment Challenges, Apr 17, 2007
- Managing Your Costs of Recovery, Jun 20, 2006
- Balancing Your Needs and Your Role as a Caregiver, Jun 13, 2006
- Is It My Cancer or Am I Getting Older?, May 23, 2006
- The Bereaved Caregiver in the Workplace, May 10, 2006
- Stress Management Tips for Survivors, Apr 25, 2006
- The Challenge of Creating Supportive Work Environments for Employees with Cancer and Their Caregivers, Apr 5, 2006
Read or order our free Connect booklets and fact sheets offering easy-to-read information about the latest cancer treatments, managing side effects and coping with cancer.
- Your Guide to the Latest Cancer Research and Treatments: Highlights From the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical OncologyNew
- After a Brain Cancer Diagnosis: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Treatment Update: Glioblastoma
- Your Guide to the Latest Cancer Research and Treatments: Highlights From the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Coping With Cancer: Tools to Help You Live
- Caregiving for Your Loved One With Cancer
- Talking to Children When a Loved One Has Cancer
- Communicating With Your Health Care Team
- Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects
- Sources of Financial Assistance
- Finding Resources in Your Community
- If You've Just Been Diagnosed
- What Can I Say to a Newly Diagnosed Loved One?
- Advice for Caregivers: How Can You Help Yourself?
Every month, featured experts answer your questions about coping with cancer. View all questions and answers.
A family member has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and I want to make sure he is going to get the best care possible. How can I find out about the best places that treat brain tumors?A.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a treatment center, and it’s important to weigh all of your options before deciding which treatment center is right for you or your loved one. While many treatment centers provide excellent care for patients diagnosed with cancer, you will want a center that has experience treating brain tumors. Important questions to ask include:
- How many brain tumor patients does the treatment center diagnose and treat per year?
- How many tumors has your doctor treated and what are your doctor’s credentials?
- Does the treatment center have a specialized neurology department including neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, rehabilitation therapists, as well as other specialists?
- Does the treatment center have a brain tumor board (a board of specialists who regularly meet to discuss patients, their treatment and their overall health)?
- Does the treatment center have the appropriate technology to provide optimal care including imaging equipment?
- Does the treatment center participate in clinical trials? Clinical trials are research studies that provide new treatments to patients through medications or other therapies. These studies answer important medical questions related to cancer treatments and also may provide important health benefits to patients participating in the trial.
Rehabilitation services are also an important part of treatment for patients diagnosed with brain tumors. Patients may experience temporary or permanent changes in speech, memory or motor skills as a result of the tumor. Rehabilitation therapy can help tremendously with these side effects. Rehabilitation specialists include speech therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Questions to ask the treatment center include:
- What rehabilitation services are provided?
- If services are not provided at the treatment center, what referrals does the center provide?
Comprehensive care is an important factor when choosing a treatment center, as a brain tumor diagnosis can affect many aspects of a patient’s life. The idea behind comprehensive care is that all of the patient’s needs are treated, which can include financial, medical, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. You may want to ask:
- Aside from medical treatment, what other comprehensive services does the treatment center provide?
- Does the treatment center provide support services to both patients and caregivers including counseling, support groups and spiritual support?
- Are workshops, literature related to care or other learning possibilities available at the treatment center?
- Is financial support or referrals for financial assistance available?
For further information on finding a treatment center please contact the following organizations:
- National Cancer Institute (NCI) offers a database of NCI-designated cancer treatment centers organized by state.
- National Brain Tumor Society maintains a comprehensive website dedicated to helping patients and families diagnosed with brain tumors.
And finally, these CancerCare publications might be helpful:
My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year, and I've noticed a change in his behavior. He can be short-tempered with me and not very nice to our children. I know he is under a lot of stress (he is trying to continue to work while receiving treatment), but I'm worried things will get worse. Is there any connection between his cancer and/or treatment and his behavior?A.
When a person is diagnosed with a brain tumor, changes in behavior and thinking occur in most patients at some point during their treatment. Changes in behavior may include mild memory loss, mood swings, or intense emotional outbursts. Tumor location, medications (such as chemotherapy and steroids), and stressful life situations can influence behavior. The first step is for you and your husband to discuss these changes. Have you let him know that you feel his behavior has changed? He may or may not be fully aware of these changes.
The second step is to share any changes in personality or behavior with his doctor to rule out a medical cause and make any adjustment to medications if that is needed. The change in his personality may also be due to the stress he is under and a sign that he is struggling emotionally with his diagnosis. A brain tumor diagnosis can bring up many feelings, including anxiety, anger, or sadness. As your husband’s primary caregiver, those feelings may be directed towards you since you are the one he is closest to and trusts. Letting him know how his behavior is affecting you and the family and seeking support can be incredibly helpful. If you are having trouble communicating, couples counseling may help. It may also be helpful for you as his caregiver to have added support at this time. Seeking counseling, joining a support group, talking to a trusted friend or family member, or even writing in a journal can help.
CancerCare provides support services for both patients and caregivers. You can also view all of our brain tumor support services, including an online brain tumor caregiver support group.
Finally, here are some publications that may also be helpful as you care for your husband:
My cousin found out that his 4-year-old daughter has brain cancer and it could be terminal. What can I do or say to help him (and his family) through this difficult time?A.
It can be hard to know what exactly to say or do when a loved one is facing cancer, especially when you are supporting both the parents and a child through a difficult time.
What can I say? Parenting a child with a serious illness can be a painful and isolating experience, so being available to listen, talk, and giving your cousin the opportunity to discuss his feelings and fears, if he wants to, can be helpful. Giving him time to talk about everyday things can be just as helpful too. Your cousin will probably best know the emotional and developmental needs of his daughter, so it’s okay to ask him how best to support her through this. CancerCare’s fact sheet “What Can I Say to a Newly Diagnosed Loved One?” offers additional tips for being supportive to a loved one facing cancer.
What can I do? Ask your cousin what would be most helpful to him during this time. If the family has many practical caregiving needs, they may appreciate help from family and friends. My Cancer Circle™ is an online resource where you can create a community for your cousin’s family and organize support.
Care for yourself. While your cousin is facing difficult times, it is important that you recognize how an illness in the family may be affecting you too. Make sure that you take time to care for yourself, so you can be a stronger source of support for the family.
Get informed. For more information on brain tumors and what to expect during treatment, both the American Brain Tumor Association and National Brain Tumor Society offer invaluable information. The National Children’s Cancer Society is also a good resource for children facing cancer and their families.
My mother has cancer in the brain, and she is acting like a completely different person, not her normal friendly loving self. During the holidays, how can I cope with basically sitting at the dinner table with my mom not being herself?A.
Caring for family is a natural part of our life journey, and the care that we give, even when challenging, offers us a way to bond with loved ones. It may help to have people with you who can support and comfort you as you look after your mother. Having a friend at hand who is there for you could help alleviate your feelings of stress. Ask other relatives or friends of your mother to spend time with her, so that you do not bear all the weight of her needs. It may be helpful to focus on what there is to be grateful for, such as your mother’s presence, having friends and other family, and that you are together and safe. You may not be able to change your mother’s behavior, but you can schedule time for yourself to do things that will bring you joy.
During holiday time most of us would like to experience the same comforting things that we have had in years past, so it stands to reason that it would be difficult to cope with changes you are seeing in your mother. It would be helpful to know whether the changes in her behavior are the result of a physical change to her brain or are the consequences of fear and anxiety about her diagnosis.
- A person diagnosed with a brain tumor may exhibit changes in behavior and thinking that may include mild memory loss, mood swings, or intense emotional outbursts. Where the tumor is located, the type of medication (such as chemotherapy and steroids), and the amount of stress that a person is feeling could cause these types of changes.
- Talking with your mother, asking her what she is thinking and feeling, is an important first step. Is she aware that her behavior has changed?
- Then, discuss changes in personality or behavior with her doctor to rule out a medical cause and make any adjustment to medications if that is needed. The change in her personality may be a sign that she is struggling emotionally with her diagnosis. A brain tumor diagnosis can bring up many feelings, including anxiety, anger, or sadness. Since you are a person who your mother is close to and who she feels safe with, those feelings may be directed towards you. Letting her know how her behavior is affecting you and seeking support can be very helpful.
I'm looking for resources for a family member who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. I'm not sure what they might need, but thought I could send along a list and let them decide what could help.A.
I’m sorry to hear that your family was recently confronted with a diagnosis of a brain tumor. I have put together a comprehensive list of brain tumor resources that will be helpful in addressing their needs and guiding your loved one to other resources.
I’ll begin by highlighting the services of CancerCare (800-813-4673). Our masters degreed oncology social workers help patients and caregivers deal with any cancer diagnosis. The services are free and can include: limited financial assistance; individual, online, and telephone counseling for patients and caregivers; support groups; educational workshops and publications; and referrals. The challenges of cancer are daunting and for many it is helpful to start the process with our social workers who can help you develop a plan.
Here are specific resources that may offer additional help:
- American Brain Tumor Association, 800-886-2282
Goal is to eliminate brain tumors through research and to meet the needs of brain tumor patients and their family.
- National Brain Tumor Society, 800-934-2873
Dedicated to promoting a cure for brain tumors, improving the quality of life, and giving hope to the brain tumor community by funding research and providing patient resources, information and education.
- The Elliott Foundation, 800-574-5703
Provides patients with access to advanced treatment options, specialists & comprehensive support programs, as well as support & guidance concerning the needs of patients and their caregivers.
- The Musella Foundation For Brain Tumor Research & Information, Inc.
Helps brain tumor patients through emotional and financial support, education, advocacy and raising money for brain tumor research.
- Brain Tumor Foundation, 212-265-2401
Guides and supports patients, families and caregivers touched by a brain tumor. BTF also raises awareness about the need for the early detection of brain tumors.
- Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, 866-228-4673
Serves children and families nationwide affected by both benign and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors. Provides information and support delivered online and via a toll-free line by licensed pediatric oncology social workers. Offers a Parent-2-Parent Network and provides recreational activities for families.
- Mission4Maureen, 440-840-6497
Provides financial assistance to children under 17 years old who are burdened by the cost of brain cancer treatment. Assistance may come in the form of rent or mortgage payments, help with the electric or gas bill, or gift cards to a local supermarket to help with the cost of food and medicines.
- Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, 800-253-6530
Programs include free educational information about brain tumors and a college scholarship program to ease the financial hardships of a childhood brain tumor diagnosis and help survivors reach career goals.
- The Friends4Michael Foundation, 815-401-8689
Provides assistance, including financial, to families across the country whose children are fighting a brain tumor.
- National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), 314-241-1600
Provides emotional, financial and educational support to children with cancer, their families and survivors.
- American Brain Tumor Association, 800-886-2282
I'm trying to compile resources for a close friend whose husband was diagnosed recently with glioblastoma. Could you share what you think are resources that could be helpful for her? Any places that could help with financial or help support them?A.
First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your loved one’s recent brain cancer diagnosis. CancerCare offers online support groups for both patients and caregivers, which he/she may find helpful. If she is in the New York/New Jersey area, he/she may sign up for individual counseling to cope with being impacted by a brain cancer diagnosis. I would encourage your friend to call the CancerCare Hopeline (800-813-4673) to get connected to possible financial resources that could be of support. They may also search our Online Helping Hand Database for practical resources.
Another organization he/she might find helpful is the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). They have a peer matching program where he/she can be connected to another caregiver and get support one on one that way.
Magnolia Meals at Home
A meal delivery program that helps patients by providing nourishing meals to households affected by cancer. Is currently available in and around Woodcliff Lake, NJ and Andover, MA, Raleigh-Durham, NC and New Haven, CT (as well areas in New York, New Hampshire and Boston, MA). For more information please visit magnoliamealsathome.com or contact Kathy Nugent, LCSW at 800-813-4673, ext. 6809.
Browse all CancerCare services
For Brain Cancer
American Brain Tumor Association
Brain Tumor Foundation
Children's Brain Tumor Foundation
EndBrain Cancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund
Glenn Garcelon Foundation
National Brain Tumor Society
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
General Cancer Resources
American Cancer Society
Cancer Support Community
National Cancer Institute