Treatment Options for Brain Tumors
Brain tumors are frequently managed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors who coordinate to combine and execute a variety of treatments. The team of doctors will work together to determine a treatment approach that will offer the patient the most successful outcome. Treatment options depend on several factors such as:
- Size of tumor
- Type of tumor
- Grade of tumor
- What parts of the brain the tumor is putting pressure on
- Whether the tumor has spread to other parts of the brain or central nervous system (CNS)
- Side effects of treatment
- Patient’s overall health and preferences for treatment
Surgical Treatment Option
Expedited surgical removal of a brain tumor and some of the surrounding tissue is generally the preferred treatment of choice when a brain tumor has been diagnosed. Your neurosurgeon will perform a craniotomy (removal of part of the skull) to access the location of the tumor. The surgeon will remove as much if not all of the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue to assess invasiveness of the tumor. The brain tumor will be sent to pathology for grading and analysis. Advancements in treatment of brain tumors allows scientists to perform tests on the tumor to determine if it will respond to radiation treatment or chemotherapy.
Radiation Therapy Treatment Option of Brain Tumors
Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It is a very targeted therapy that will aid in stopping or slowing the growth of the tumor. Radiation therapy can be used in combination with chemotherapy or used before surgery to shrink a tumor. There are several types of radiation therapy available and your oncology team will choose the most effective treatment for your specific tumor type.
Chemotherapy Treatment of Brain Tumors
Chemotherapy utilizes drugs to destroy cancer cells. The goal of chemotherapy treatment is to stop the cancer cell’s ability to grow and divide. The medication can be given orally, through an IV injection placed into a vein, or a port which is established to make injections easier. Chemotherapy is often given in accordance with a schedule that provides administration of the medication in a set period of time.
Advancements in chemotherapy allow neurosurgeons to place chemotherapy in the form of a wafer after surgery into the surgical site. The wafer gradually administers the medication directly to the area where the cancer cells were removed.
Follow up image testing will be performed on regular intervals to evaluate the growth or shrinkage of the tumor. Other treatment options will be investigated depending on the results of your image testing.