Brain tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non cancerous). Treatment options for brain tumor should be individualized based on age, health and size, location and type of the tumor. Treatment for brain cancer is complex that it involves cumulative effect of team of doctors including neurosurgeons, oncologists, and radiation oncologists apart from primary health care providers.
Various treatment options available for brain cancer are,
Surgery: Surgical removal is the usual first treatment for most brain tumors. Many tumors except some at the skull base can be successfully removed. Any person undergoing brain surgery may suffer from epileptic seizures and medication is prescribed to minimize or eliminate the occurrence of seizures.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a new technique to destory brain tumor using high energy radiation without opening the skull. There are various types of stereotactic radiosurgeryand the advantages of stereotactic radiosurgery is that it has fewer complications with a shorter recovery time.
Radiation: It is a localized therapy to selectively destroy tumor cells. It may be used for people who can not undergo surgery. In some cases it is used after surgery to kill any tumor cells that may remain. Radiation can be given externally or internally.
- External radiation uses a high-energy beam of radiation that travels through the skin, the skull, healthy brain tissue, and other tissues to get to the tumor. The process is repeated for a total of 10-30 treatments depending on the type of tumor.
- Internal or implant radiation uses a tiny radioactive capsule that is placed inside the tumor itself.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat tumor. It is often used in young children instead of radiation, as radiation may affect the developing brain. The toxicity and many side effects of the drugs holds back this treatment option in comparison to surgery and radiation therapy
Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are another treatment option for brain cancer, as new therapies are being developed all the time. Clinical trials offer new therapies that may be more effective than the existing one. Many people with cancer are eligible for clinical trials. Check out list of clinical trials for brain tumor currently recruiting here.
A brain tumor or treatment can lead to other health problems and you need to receive supportive care to prevent these hurdles.