The brain is the body’s most complex organ, so it’s no overstatement that treatment for brain tumors requires the latest technology skillfully used by a highly experienced medical team. Brain tumors typically are categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary brain tumors originate in your brain and can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Secondary brain tumors result from cancer that began elsewhere and spread to your brain.

A tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells. Brain tumors typically are categorized as primary or secondary. Primary brain tumors (gliomas) originate in the brain and can be benign (slow growing) or malignant (fast growing). Secondary brain tumors (metastatic brain tumors), which are malignant, are more common. These tumors result from cancer that started elsewhere in the body and spread (metastasized) to the brain. Brain tumors are often challenging for doctors to treat.

Treatment of Brain Tumor

Surgery: This is the mainstay of brain tumor treatment. It involves removing as much of the tumor as possible while trying to minimize damage to healthy tissue. Some tumors can be removed completely, while others can be removed only partially or not all. If a tumor is slow-growing, doctors may not operate immediately, but take a watch-and-wait approach.

Tumors can be difficult to remove completely by surgery alone, because the tumor invades surrounding brain tissue much like roots from a plant spread through soil. In cases where the tumor cannot be removed, surgery may still help reduce pressure and relieve symptoms.

The body and its internal organs are virtually impossible to immobilize, requiring imaging throughout a linac treatment. The physician needs constant imaging to treat with confidence and often reduces the dose and increases the number of treatment sessions to compensate.

Radiation: High-energy radiation can be used to destroy tumor cells in your brain. Radiation plays a central role in the successful treatment of many brain tumors, both benign and malignant. After surgery, any remaining tumor cells can be treated and controlled with radiation, often reducing their size and rate of growth. Radiation also helps to prevent or delay the recurrence of tumors. Additionally, radiation has proven to be extremely helpful in treating inoperable tumors. There are different forms of radiation used for specific types and sizes of tumors.

Chemotherapy: These drugs, taken by mouth or intravenously, can help kill cancerous tumor cells. Chemotherapy consists of a series of drugs that interfere with the normal functioning of the rapidly dividing cells of the tumor. This prevents the tumor from growing. Most of these chemotherapy drugs are given in combination so that they are most effective. Research is being conducted to determine the best combination of chemotherapy drugs to combat brain tumors. Some chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the bloodstream while others can be taken by pill, at home.

Emotional Support

Because of the low-cure rates of most malignant brain tumors, support for the patients and their families is a critical component of treatment and management. In response to one survey of patients with gliomas, experts made several recommendations to help both patients and caregivers:

Any physical impairment that could benefit from home equipment or physical therapy should be identified and treated.
Patients should discuss emotional as well as physical issues with their doctors. Depression, for instance, can be medically treated. Caregivers should also seek help for the inevitable stress, depression, and tension arising from their difficult role.

Relaxation techniques, meditation, and spiritual resources can be extremely helpful. Support groups are beneficial, but experts recommend separate groups for patients and their families.

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