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All about brain tumor primary brain tumors secondary brain tumors types of brain tumors causes of brain tumor risk factors for brain tumors complications of brain tumor symptoms of brain tumors diagnosing brain tumor brain tumor treatment

What's the treatment for brain tumors?

The approach for treating brain tumors is to reduce the tumor as much as possible using surgery, radiation treatment (also called radiotherapy), chemotherapy, or investigative procedures. Such treatments are used alone or, more commonly, in combinations. With some very slow-growing cancers, such as those that occur in the midbrain or optic nerve pathway,

patients may be closely observed and not treated until the tumor shows signs of growth. The intensity, combination, and sequence of these treatments depends on the glioma subtype, its size and location, and patient age, health status, and medical history.

Treatment of a brain tumor depends on its location and type. When possible, the tumor is removed surgically. Some brain tumors can be removed with little or no damage to the brain. However, many grow in an area that makes removal difficult or impossible without destroying essential structures. Surgery sometimes causes brain damage that can lead to partial paralysis, changes in sensation, weakness, and impaired intellect. Nevertheless, removing a tumor - whether cancerous or noncancerous - is essential if its growth threatens important brain structures. Even when a cure is impossible, surgery may be useful to reduce the tumor's size, relieve symptoms, and help doctors determine whether other treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, are warranted.

Radiation therapy, which uses high-powered rays to kill cancer cells, is often used after surgery to help rid the area of any remaining cancer cells or to destroy parts of the tumor that could not be removed by surgery. External radiotherapy, generally delivered on an outpatient basis, directs radiation to the tumor and the area around it. Implant radiation therapy involves placing tiny pieces of radioactive material in the brain. Left in place permanently, or for a short time, these radioactive pellets release measured doses of radiation each day. Patients are usually hospitalized during the several days the pellets are most active. Stereoactic radiosurgery involves fitting the patient with a frame to stabilize the head, using imaging techniques to determine the exact location of tumor cells, and using a sophisticated instrument called a gamma knife to administer radiation precisely to that point.

Chemotherapy may involve one or a combination of anticancer drugs, usually taken orally or by injection. One or more cancer-killing drugs may be taken by mouth or injected into a blood vessel, muscle, or the cerebrospinal fluid. Chemotherapy may be used with radiation and surgery as part of a patient's initial treatment, or used alone to treat tumors that recur in the same place or in another part of the body. When a young child has a brain tumor, chemotherapy is often used to eliminate or delay the need for radiation. In general, however, chemotherapy is usually administered in brain cancer as salvage therapy for recurrent or slowly progressing cancers in patients who have previously been treated.

More information on brain tumor

What is brain tumor? - Brain tumors are abnormal growths made up of cells whose growth and division are no longer under the control of the body.
What are primary brain tumors? - A primary malignant brain tumor is one that originates in the brain itself. Primary brain tumors are named due to the cell types.
What are secondary brain tumors? - A secondary (metastatic) brain tumor occurs when cancer cells spread to the brain from a primary cancer in another part of the body.
What types of brain tumors are there? - About half of all primary brain tumors are known collectively as gliomas. Some brain tumors are categorized by their location in the brain.
What causes brain tumors? - The majority of brain tumors have abnormalities of genes involved in cell cycle control, causing uncontrolled cell growth.
What're the risk factors for brain tumors? - Risk factors for brain tumors include age, environmental or occupational risk factors, diseases associated with brain tumors.
What're the complications of brain tumors? - Brain tumors may lead to an emergency complication known as hydrocephalus. A brain tumor can cause temporary or permanent brain damage.
What're the symptoms of brain tumors? - Symptoms of brain tumors vary depending on the size and location of tumor. Many symptoms are related to an increase in pressure in or around the brain.
How is brain tumor diagnosed? - Brain tumor is diagnosed through a combination of symptoms and evaluation of neurological functions.
What's the treatment for brain tumors? - The approach for treating brain tumors is to reduce the tumor as much as possible using surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, or investigative procedures.
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