How treatment is planned

In most hospitals, a team of specialists meet to plan your treatment. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) may include a:

  • neurosurgeon – a doctor who specialises in operating on the brain or nervous system
  • neurologist – a doctor who specialises in treating illnesses of the brain and nervous system
  • clinical oncologist – a doctor who specialises in treating cancer with radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  • specialist nurse – who gives information and support to people with brain tumours.

It may also include other healthcare professionals such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, neuropsychologist, speech and language therapist or counsellor.

The MDT will give advice about your treatment based on results of your tests and your general health.

Your specialist doctor and nurse will then talk to you about your treatment options. Together you will make a decision about your treatment plan. Make sure you ask questions about anything you don’t understand or feel worried about. If you have any questions, you can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00

Giving your consent

Before you have any treatment, your doctor will explain its aims. They will usually ask you to sign a form saying that you give permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give you the treatment.

No medical treatment can be given without your consent.

Before you are asked to sign the form you should be given full information about:

  • the type and extent of the treatment
  • its advantages and disadvantages
  • any significant risks or side effects
  • any other treatments that may be available.

If you do not understand what you have been told, let the staff know straight away, so they can explain again. Some cancer treatments are complex, so it is not unusual to need repeated explanations.

It is a good idea to have a relative or friend with you when the treatment is explained, to help you remember the discussion.

You may also find it useful to write a list of questions before your appointment.

People sometimes feel that hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it is important for you to know how the treatment is likely to affect you. The staff should be willing to make time for your questions.

You can always ask for more time if you feel that you can't make a decision when your treatment is first explained to you.

You are also free to choose not to have the treatment. The staff can explain what may happen if you do not have it. It is essential to tell a doctor or the nurse in charge, so they can record your decision in your medical notes. You do not have to give a reason for not wanting treatment, but it can help to let the staff know your concerns so they can give you the best advice.

Back to Making treatment decisions

Getting a second opinion

Your treatment will be planned using national guidelines, but you may still want another medical opinion.

Making a complaint

Talking to your healthcare team can make it easier to cope. If you find talking difficult, there are things you can do.

Making a decision

It is important to remember that the decision you make is the right one for you at the time.