Brain Cancer Treatment
- The team of doctors includes neurosurgeons (specialists in the brain and nervous system), oncologists, radiation oncologists (doctors who practice radiation therapy), and, of course, your primary health care provider. Your team may also include a dietitian, a social worker, a physical therapist, and, possibly, other specialists such as a neurologist.
- The treatment protocols vary widely according to the location of the tumor, its size and type, your age, and any additional medical problems that you may have.
- The most widely used treatments are surgery, radiation therapy, andchemotherapy. In most cases, more than one of these is used.
Brain Cancer Surgery
Many people with a brain tumor undergo surgery.
- The purpose of surgery is to confirm that the abnormality seen during testing is indeed a tumor and to remove the tumor. If the tumor cannot be removed, the surgeon will take a sample of the tumor to identify its type.
- In some cases, mostly in benign tumors, symptoms can be completely cured by surgical removal of the tumor. The neurosurgeon will attempt to remove all the tumor when possible.
You may undergo several treatments and procedures before surgery. For example:
- You may be given a steroid drug, such as dexamethasone (Decadron), to relieve swelling.
- You may be treated with an anticonvulsant drug to relieve or prevent seizures.
- If you have excess cerebrospinal fluid collecting around the brain, a thin, plastic tube called a shunt may be placed to drain the fluid. One end of the shunt is placed in the cavity where fluid collects; the other end is threaded under your skin to another part of the body. The fluid drains from the brain to a site from which the fluid can be easily eliminated.