Initial psycho-oncological counselling in neuro-oncology: analysis of topics and needs of brain tumour patients

Stephanie Schipmann, Eric Suero Molina, Anna Frasch, Walter Stummer, Dorothee Wiewrodt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Diagnosis of a brain tumour is associated with a tremendous disruption of emotional, physical and social well-being. Due to the complexity of the disease and the affection of the central organ, the brain, brain tumour patients differ from other cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the concerns and burdens presented by brain tumour patients during their initial psycho-oncological consultation. We performed a retrospective analysis of 53 patients with the diagnosis of either benign or malignant brain tumour, seeking counsel by a neurosurgeon specialised in psycho-oncology. We performed a thematic analysis of the interviews at first consultation identifying themes and patterns and created thematic categories. The main concerns of the patients presented during the first consultations were psychological problems, reported by 40 patients (75.5%). Death and dying was mentioned by more than half of the patients (n = 30, 56.6%). In addition, 62.3% of the patients (n = 33) asked for information regarding the medical treatment and diagnosis. With our study, we created greater awareness of the psychological needs of brain tumour patients in order to define treatment strategies for this important aspect of disease. We showed that there is a need for patients to talk about death even during the initial consultation. Psycho-oncologist in a neuro-oncological setting should be prepared for topics like that and should have a neurosurgical background or collaborate with members of the surgical team in order to provide the patients with medical details and to better understand the impact of the disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-514
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Psycho-oncology
  • Brain tumour
  • Quality of life
  • Supportive care


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