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Treatment for Brain cancer

A physician may recommend treatment based on the diagnosis.

The following treatments may be suggested.

Surgery

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The procedure is called craniotomy and involves removal of the tumor without causing neurological damage. Different surgical techniques are conducted depending on the location, size and type of the brain tumor, such as:

  • Classic operation
  • Laser microsurgery
  • Ultrasonic aspiration

Prior to the surgery the patient is given:

  • Steroids to reduce swelling of the brain tissue
  • Anticonvulsants to reduce seizures
  • Radiations to reduce the size of the tumor

A benign tumor can be completely removed without additional treatment but periodic CT scan, MRI scan and neurological examinations may be suggested. In case of malignant tumors, surgeons cannot be sure that every bit of the tumor is removed and hence radiations and chemotherapy is suggested to eradicate the cells, which have escaped.

 

Radiation Therapy       

External radiotherapy: Here, radiations are given externally to the tumor and the area surrounding it.

Implant radiotherapy: Tiny pellets of radioactive material are left in the brain for a short period of time or permanently. The radiations released by these pellets are measured every day. This technique is also called brachytherapy.

Stereoactive radiosurgery: Imaging techniques are used to determine the exact location of tumor cells. Gamma knife, adapted linear accelerator (LINAC) and cyclotron are the instruments used to release radiations. Different drugs like radioprotective drugs, radiosensitizers and radioenhancers are administered during radiation therapy to protect the brain cells.1

Side-Effects of Radiation Therapy:           

  • Headaches, seizures and memory loss due to clustering of cells killed by radiation in the brain
  • Partial loss of eyesight and learning problems in children
  • Damage to the pituitary gland causing hindrance to normal growth and development

 

Chemotherapy

Anticancer drugs may be taken by orally, injected into the blood vessel or muscle or cerebrospinal fluid.

Chemotherapy may be considered in case of following:

  • Radiation and surgery as a part of patient’s initial treatment
  • Treat tumors that recur in the same place or in another part of the body

The commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs include procarbazine, CCNU or lomustine and vincristine.

Other methods of delivering chemotherapy are interstitial chemotherapy, intrathecal chemotherapy, intra-arterial chemotherapy and electrochemotherapy.

Side-Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapic drugs can cause the followining:

  • Damage to the kidneys
  • Tingling in the fingers
  • Ringing in the ears

 

Other Treatments

Some other drugs are prescribed if the brain tumor is not cured.

They are as follows:

  • Anticancer drugs to limit tumor growth
  • Anticonvulsants to control seizures
  • Steroids to reduce swelling of the brain
  • Analgesics to relieve pain

 

Alternate Treatment

Alternate treatment is not recommended for brain cancer, as it cannot cure brain cancer. Complementary therapies can be used along with standard treatments to cope with the illness, side-effects of the treatment and may include the following:

  • Massage and meditation to help the patients to relax
  • Yoga to soothe body, spirit and mind
  • Hydrotherapy to improve circulation and relieve pain
  • Homeopathic and Chinese medicine focuses on diet and food supplements  

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last modified: October 01, 2012