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Decisions about having palliative chemotherapy for my brain tumour

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Patient information

Your oncologist is considering a course of drug treatment to try to control the growth of your brain tumour and minimise any effects on your wellbeing.

Your team will have explained the likelihood of your tumour returning when you were first diagnosed. It can be a real shock to find out your tumour has regrown and making the decision to have further treatment might be challenging. However, you will need to consider how additional treatment will impact on your quality of life in addition to the impact on your survival.

There are several reasons why you may not receive palliative chemotherapy:

  • Your oncologist does not think it will help;
  • You do not want it;
  • You are not well enough to tolerate potential side-effects.

This aid is designed to help you to make an informed choice about treatment suitable for your brain tumour. We recommend that you discuss your choice with your oncologist or nurse specialist before making a final decision. Keep in mind, the right decision for you may change over time. The decision aid aims to help you make the right decision for now but you could have a further conversation with your oncologist as your illness changes.

    Decision aid about whether or not to have palliative chemotherapy.

    Shown below is information regarding each of the two options.

    The table allows you compare three options, side-by-side.




          What matters most to you?

          Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters to you most in this decision and indicate how you feel about the following statements:


          Some thoughts people may have when considering the two options might include:

          “I’ve decided to attempt a course of chemotherapy to see if this will slow down the growth of my tumour and improve my symptoms. I hope to feel better but I accept that while I am on chemotherapy, I may experience side effects which could affect how I feel”.

          “I want to have the treatment that gives me the best chance of surviving longest. I understand there is no guarantee that my treatment will work but my progress will be monitored. I know that I can stop my treatment at any time”.

          ” I do not want chemotherapy. I am worried about possible side-effects and I have been told that the treatment might only prolong my life for a few months. So I have decided to choose palliative care only”. Further reading:


            This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

            The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

              Publication Date: November 2021

              Review Date: August 2024

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