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Treatments for Brain cancer

Treatments for Brain cancer:

The general goal of treatment of brain cancer is to bring about a complete remission of the disease, in which there is no longer any sign of the cancer in the brain, nervous system, or other parts of the body. The prognosis for people with brain cancer varies depending on the location and stage of advancement of the cancer, age of the patient, general health status, and other factors.

Treatment plans for brain cancer are individualized for each individual's specific case. Treatment varies depending on the type of brain cancer, the size of the brain tumor, its locations, the stage of advancement, a patient's age and medical history, the presence of other sites of cancer in the body, and other factors.

Treatment for brain cancer is best planned and delivered by a team of specialists in brain cancer care. These specialists may include a neurologist, neurosurgeon, neuro-oncologist, nueroradiologist, and oncology registered nurses who specialize in cancer care.

Treatment of all stages of brain cancer often includes surgery to remove all or part of the cancerous tumor. The amount of tumor removed varies depending on its size, location in the brain, and other factors. It may not be possible to remove all of a tumor because surgical removal of a brain tumor can affect healthy brain tissue and cause permanent brain damage. It may not be possible to remove any portion of some brain tumors, such as those on the brain stem.

Treatment of brain cancer may also require radiation therapy to help ensure that any cancer cells that remain after surgery have been killed. Radiation therapy may also be used for people who cannot have their brain tumors removed. In some cases, chemotherapy may also be needed. It may also be recommended that a person with brain cancer enroll in a clinical trial that is testing promising new therapies and treatments for brain cancer.

Other treatments include corticosteroid medications, which can help to reduce swelling and pressure in the brain due to the growth of a brain tumor. Anticonvulsant medications may be prescribed to treat and prevent seizures.

To help overcome any brain damage or changes in brain function, treatment may also include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and other rehabilitative services. Ensuring good nutrition is also key to keeping the body strong during treatment for brain cancer.

Regular follow-up care is also a very important after treatment to help monitor a patient's condition and neurological status and to address any problems promptly.

For people whose brain cancer has progressed to a very advanced stage, the goal of treatment may change. Treatment then may shift away from curing the disease and focus on measures to keep a person comfortable and maximize the quality of life. This treatment may be administered through a hospice program.

Treatment List for Brain cancer

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Brain cancer includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

Alternative Treatments for Brain cancer

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Brain cancer may include:

Brain cancer: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Brain cancer may include:

Hidden causes of Brain cancer may be incorrectly diagnosed:

Brain cancer: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Brain cancer:

Brain cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat Brain cancer:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Brain cancer include:

Unlabeled Drugs and Medications to treat Brain cancer:

Unlabelled alternative drug treatments for Brain cancer include:

Latest treatments for Brain cancer:

The following are some of the latest treatments for Brain cancer:

Hospital statistics for Brain cancer:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Brain cancer:

  • 0.12% (15,230) of hospital consultant episodes were for malignant neoplasm of brain in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 86% of hospital consultant episodes for malignant neoplasm of brain required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 56% of hospital consultant episodes for malignant neoplasm of brain were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 44% of hospital consultant episodes for malignant neoplasm of brain were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Brain cancer

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Brain cancer:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Brain cancer, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Brain cancer:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Brain cancer:

Discussion of treatments for Brain cancer:

NINDS Brain and Spinal Tumors Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

The three most commonly used treatments are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Doctors also may prescribe steroids to reduce the swelling inside the CNS. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Brain and Spinal Tumors Information Page: NINDS)

What You Need To Know About Brain Tumors: NCI (Excerpt)

Brain tumors are treated with surgery , radiation therapy , and chemotherapy . Depending on the patient's needs, several methods may be used. The patient may be referred to doctors who specialize in different kinds of treatment and work together as a team. This medical team often includes a neurosurgeon , a medical oncologist , a radiation oncologist , a nurse, a dietitian, and a social worker. The patient may also work with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist.

Before treatment begins, most patients are given steroids , which are drugs that relieve swelling (edema). They may also be given anticonvulsant medicine to prevent or control seizures. If hydrocephalus is present, the patient may need a shunt to drain the cerebrospinal fluid. A shunt is a long, thin tube placed in a ventricle of the brain and then threaded under the skin to another part of the body, usually the abdomen. It works like a drainpipe: Excess fluid is carried away from the brain and is absorbed in the abdomen. (In some cases, the fluid is drained into the heart.)

Surgery is the usual treatment for most brain tumors. To remove a brain tumor, a neurosurgeon makes an opening in the skull. This operation is called a craniotomy .

Whenever possible, the surgeon attempts to remove the entire tumor. However, if the tumor cannot be completely removed without damaging vital brain tissue, the doctor removes as much of the tumor as possible. Partial removal helps to relieve symptoms by reducing pressure on the brain and reduces the amount of tumor to be treated by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Some tumors cannot be removed. In such cases, the doctor may do only a biopsy . A small piece of the tumor is removed so that a pathologist can examine it under a microscope to determine the type of cells it contains. This helps the doctor decide which treatment to use.

Sometimes, a biopsy is done with a needle. Doctors use a special headframe (like a halo) and CT scans or MRI to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. The surgeon makes a small hole in the skull and then guides a needle to the tumor. (Using this technique to do a biopsy or for treatment is called stereotaxis .)

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the use of high-powered rays to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing. It is often used to destroy tumor tissue that cannot be removed with surgery or to kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery. Radiation therapy is also used when surgery is not possible.

Radiation therapy may be given in two ways. External radiation comes from a large machine. Generally, external radiation treatments are given 5 days a week for several weeks. The treatment schedule depends on the type and size of the tumor and the age of the patient. Giving the total dose of radiation over an extended period helps to protect healthy tissue in the area of the tumor.

Radiation can also come from radioactive material placed directly in the tumor (implant radiation therapy). Depending on the material used, the implant may be left in the brain for a short time or permanently. Implants lose a little radioactivity each day. The patient stays in the hospital for several days while the radiation is most active.

External radiation may be directed just to the tumor and the tissue close to it or, less often, to the entire brain. (Sometimes the radiation is also directed to the spinal cord.) When the whole brain is treated, the patient often receives an extra dose of radiation to the area of the tumor. This boost can come from external radiation or from an implant.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is another way to treat brain tumors. Doctors use the techniques described in the Surgery section to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. Treatment is given in just one session; high-energy rays are aimed at the tumor from many angles. In this way, a high dose of radiation reaches the tumor without damaging other brain tissue. (This use of radiation therapy is sometimes called the gamma knife .)

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The doctor may use just one drug or a combination, usually giving the drugs by mouth or by injection into a blood vessel or muscle. Intrathecal chemotherapy involves injecting the drugs into the cerebrospinal fluid.

Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles: a treatment period followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period, and so on. Patients often do not need to stay in the hospital for treatment. Most drugs can be given in the doctor's office or the outpatient clinic of a hospital. However, depending on the drugs used, the way they are given, and the patient's general health, a short hospital stay may be necessary. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Brain Tumors: NCI)

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