Behavioral Interventions

Formal rehabilitation, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, and vocational rehabilitation are underutilized in the population of patients with brain tumor. Health care providers and families may believe that such strategies lack benefit for patients who have a poor prognosis. However, formal rehabilitation has the potential to allow patients with brain tumor to function at the highest level possible for the longest time possible and has been shown to be cost effective.15 There are a number of behavioral strategies that can also enhance functional outcome in brain tumor patients. There is a growing literature about the positive effects of exercise on cancer-related symptoms.4 Behavioral interventions such as relaxation therapy and self-hypnosis may be very useful as well. Such strategies can alleviate symptoms such as pain, nausea, and fatigue and help patients relax and focus when they feel overwhelmed. Life-style alterations may also be useful. For instance a person with increased distractibility may be able to maintain employment given reasonable accommodations, such as flexibility of deadlines and a quieter work environment. Students may be able to continue in school if allowed to tape lectures and to take tests without time constraints.

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