There are many ways to treat brain cancer. Different methods are used for different types of cancer. Click below for the different methods of treatment.
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Surgery is the chief form of treatment for brain tumors that lie within the membranes covering the brain or parts of the brain that can be removed without damaging critical functions. Because a tumor will regenerate if any tumor cells are left behind, the surgeon's goal is to remove the entire tumor whenever possible. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used as secondary treatment for tumors that can't be removed by surgery alone.
Steroids are the most common medications used for brain tumors. They are given to reduce inflammation of tissues and control swelling before and after surgery. They do not kill tumors, but when used with other forms of treatment they can cause remarkable improvement in a patient. Steroids can cause severe side effects if used for too long.
Some other drugs are used to keep seizures from happening, while others cut short seizures that have already started. Some common drug names are Dilantin, Tegratol, and Phenobarbital.
Radiation therapy delivers a beam of cell-killing radiation aimed at a tumor. Radiation is mainly used after surgery for tumors that cannot be removed completely, as well as when surgery would put the patient at risk.
Stereostatic radiosurgery is an alternative to regular surgery. Instead of a scalpel, surgeons aim multiple beams of high energy particles directly at a tumor while sparing healthy tissue around it. A higher dose of radiation is delivered to a more specific area than with radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy destroys tumors with drugs that may be given alone or in combination with other drugs. A key problem with chemotherapy is the difficulty in delivering sufficient amounts of drugs to the tumor while sparing normal brain cells. Another problem is a barrier mechanism that normally keeps harmful substances out of the brain, which sometimes works to keep out the cancer treatment.
Polio was once a deadly global disease and is now nearly destroyed thanks to new vaccinations. It now may be possible to treat cancer with the polio virus. New experimental research shows that the polio virus stops the growth of tumors exposed to it.
In gene therapy a special gene is added to a virus which is injected into the brain tumor. An antivirus drug is then given which kills the cancer cells that have been infected with the altered virus.