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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Brain metastasis is cancer that has spread within your brain or spreads from your body to your brain. Some examples are lung, breast, skin, and colon cancer.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your leg or arm feels warm, tender, and painful. It may be swollen and red.
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have new problems walking or moving one side of your body.
- You have new or worsening headaches or body swelling.
- You have a seizure.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or oncologist as directed:
Your healthcare provider may suggest tests such as an MRI or PET scan every 3 months. These tests help check for new or returning tumors. Work with your healthcare providers to create a follow-up care plan that is right for you.
- Steroids help reduce swelling.
- Anticonvulsants help decrease or stop seizures.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage the effects of brain metastasis:
- Prevent infections. Cancer treatments make it easier to get infections. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Carry germ-killing gel with you in case you do not have access to soap and water. Try to avoid people who have a cold or the flu.
- Treat pain. Tell your healthcare provider if you are in pain. If you need pain medicine, learn how, when, and how often to take it. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell healthcare providers if your pain does not decrease.
- Stay safe. Cancer treatments can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drive.
- Seek support from healthcare providers. The disease can change the way you act, think, and feel. Your memory, concentration, and ability to learn may decline. You may act without thinking or become more emotional. Talk with your healthcare provider about these changes and about continuing care, treatments, and home services. Go to all follow-up appointments.
For support and more information:
- American Brain Tumor Association
8550 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 550
Chicago , IL 60631
Phone: 1- 800 - 886-2282
Web Address: http://www.abta.org
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.