About Brain Cancer Treatment
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
Brain cancer treatment is complex and individualized for each patient. The care involves a team of doctor, including oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation therapists, physical therapist, occupational therapist and neurologist. Different treatment options are available which are decided according to the cancer type and the patient’s status.
What are the treatment options for brain cancer?
The treatment plan in brain cancer depends on a variety of factors. They include:
- Location of the cancer, its type, size
- Patient’s age and general health and well being of the patient.
- Spread of the cancer to other body parts or CNS
- Any pressure effects produced by cancer in the brain
Before surgery, steroids may be given to reduce any swelling or edema present in the brain. In case the patient has seizures, then the antiepileptic drugs are given before surgery. Any pressure effects in brain may require shunting, which involves a thin tube placed in brain and passed down to the abdomen. It helps in draining excess fluid in the brain and prevents any further damage to brain tissue. The main important options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
- Surgery: Surgery removes the cancer cells present in the brain. It is done by craniotomy, which involves making an opening in the skull. Most of the low grade or benign cancers are removed by surgery. In cases, where complete removal of cancer is not possible, partial removal is followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Sometimes, in cases of difficult cancer, the doctor may only take a biopsy to determine the cancer tissue and decide further regarding the treatment options.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves drugs that help to destroy the cancer cells. They are either given orally or in the veins. They are also given directly into the brain fluid through Chemotherapy drugs are decided depending on the brain cancer type. They are either given individually or in combination. It is given in cycles.
- Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy uses high energy radiations. It is usually given after surgery along with chemotherapy. It can be given as external beam radiation therapy or internal radiation. They are focused on specific brain areas where cancer cells are present, avoiding exposure to other healthy brain tissue. Conventional radiation therapy, proton beam therapy, gamma knife therapy are a few of the examples of external beam radiation therapy.
What is the success rate of brain cancer treatment?
Success of treatment depends on the brain cancer type, its size, spread and overall health of the patient. Advanced or terminal cancer cannot be cured by treatment.
Duration of procedure/surgery : Surgery may take 3-4 hours depending on the type of cancer and its location in the brain.
Days admitted : It may take 5- 7 days in the hospital depending on the recovery of the patient.
Recovery : Surgery is done under general anaesthesia
Risks : Risks due to surgery, including haemorrhage, coma, paralysis, damage to surrounding brain tissue, Risks associated with anaesthesia, Risks associated with chemotherapy, including hair loss, vomiting, nausea, sore mouth, loss of appetite, infection and fatigue, Risks associated with radiotherapy, including skin irritation, stomach upset, damage
After care : Regular follow up is necessary to diagnose any recurrence or after effects of surgery
Learn more about Brain Cancer