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The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

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When to Call the Doctor

Below are unexpected concerns or reasons to contact your doctor or call 911 when receiving treatment for a brain or spinal tumor.

  1. Leg pain, swelling or redness: Blood clots occur more frequently in people with brain tumors. Early signs of a clot can include swelling of a leg (especially if one leg is swollen more than the other), leg pain which worsens when standing or walking, redness in the ankle, calf or upper leg, or dry cough. You may have only one of these symptoms or you may have all of them. Blood clots are treatable with medication, and many times can be diagnosed with a simple ultrasound evaluation of the blood vessels in that limb. If suspected: DO NOT rub the limb! Rubbing may loosen the blood clot into the blood stream causing more serious problems or even death.
  2. Shortness of Breath or Chest Pains: Call 911
  3. Pain or Headaches: Contact your provider if you experience severe or even mild persistent headaches, new vision changes or uncontrolled pain.
  4. Diarrhea or Unrelieved Constipation: Diarrhea is not a usual symptom of this treatment. Contact your doctor if you experience this. Do NOT take Imodium or Pepto-Bismol unless specifically directed by your doctor.
  5. Nausea or Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are NOT expected as part of your treatments. Nausea and vomiting can be caused by many things including increased swelling or pressure in  your brain or from the medications you are taking. Interventions to control nausea and vomiting may involve adding a new medicine or simply changing the dose or frequency of medicines you are already taking. In some instances, a CT scan or MRI may be done to more fully evaluate your symptoms before a treatment is recommended.
  6. Elevated Temperature or Chills: If you experience a temperature of 100 or above, feel overly cold, experience any chills or sweats you should notify your doctor ASAP.
  7. Bleeding or Bruising: Treatments may cause an increased risk of bleeding. Watch for increased bruising, dark tarry stools, nose bleeds or rectal bleeding.
  8. Vision Changes: Call your provider if you experience new blurry vision, partial or total vision loss.
  9. Physical Changes: Changes in speech, walking limb usage, facial droop or if you become overly sleepy for long periods in the day.
  10. Cognitive Changes: If you develop worsening memory or difficulty concentrating.
  11. Skin: Any new rashes, skin redness/itching, excessive acne, or swelling.