Brain Cancer Treatment
Treatment for brain cancer depends on the type of cancer and if the cancer is primary or secondary. Primary brain cancer arises from the brain itself, whereas secondary brain cancer spreads from another organ to the brain. Treatment for secondary brain cancer depends on the type of cancer that has spread to the brain. Common cancers that spread to the brain include lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, and malignant melanoma. Treatment for primary brain cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy drugs kill rapidly growing cancer cells, while radiation therapy uses x-ray beams to destroy cancer cells. A course of radiation therapy and chemotherapy may require weeks or months.
Treatment for brain cancer may include:
- Seizure medications:
- Oral corticosteroids medications:
- To control brain swelling
- Narcotic pain medication
- Surgery for brain cancer
- Radiation therapy for brain cancer
- Chemotherapy for brain cancer:
- The choice of medications depends on the type of cancer
- Medications for nausea and vomiting:
- Aprepitant (Emend)
- Dolasetron (Anzemet)
- Granisetron (Kytril)
- Metoclopramide (Reglan)
- Ondansetron (Zofran)
- Palonosetron (Aloxi)
- Prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro)
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
For more information:
Brain Cancer Diet
It is important to follow a healthy diet if you have brain cancer.
Cancer and Chemotherapy Diet
Adequate nutrition is essential for the body to maintain its immune system, strength, and vitality. This is even more important for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy who require proper nutrition to fight cancer.
National Cancer Institute general guidelines
- Avoid obesity by losing excess weight.
- Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
- Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet.
- Increase fiber to 20-30 grams/day with an upper limit of 35 grams.
- Minimize consumption of salt-cured, salt-pickled, and smoked foods.
- Reduce fat intake to 30 percent of calories or less.
Goals of Nutritional Management
There are two main goals for a cancer diet. The first is the achievement and maintenance of reasonable weight. The second is the prevention or correction of nutritional imbalances and deficiencies.
Adequate calories to meet energy requirements, sufficient protein to permit tissue growth, fats, minerals, vitamins, and fluids all must be supplied in appropriate amounts to meet the patient's requirements. Careful attention to nutrition is important because malnutrition induced by cancer and its treatment adversely affects the patient and complicates further treatment of the disease.
Appetite loss in cancer is apparently a varied symptom, with diverse causes. Attention must be paid to the individual causes. The following steps are recommended:
- Determine symptoms that might be related to appetite loss
- Probe for specific food likes and dislikes
- Patients should be given nutritional and dietary counseling
Practical guidelines for eating:
- Atmosphere Does Make a Difference. An attractively set table with flowers or other such items can take your mind off a slumping appetite. Good odors also help such as baking bread and cakes. A glass of wine or beer with your doctor's approval prior to meals is helpful in generating an appetite.
- Avoid Foods That Don't Interest You.
- Discuss Your Eating Problems With Your Doctor. Before you try home remedies, be sure your problems are not symptoms needing medical attention, or unwanted side effects associated with the chemotherapeutic agent. Do not hesitate to ask your physician questions and to tell the doctor what seems to be bothering you.
- Give Food A Chance. Remember that what sounds unappealing today may sound good tomorrow.
- Make Use of Time Savers. Take advantage of time saving and effort saving foods and appliances. These include foods that can be prepared as a meal in a dish with little preparation and cooking. Frozen dinners, when served with a fruit, milk, and canned foods, such as soups, spaghetti sauce, or gravies, can be mixed easily with fresh cooked meat for a good dinner.
- Stay Away From Raw Eggs and Raw Meats. This is particularly important if your chemotherapy makes you more susceptible to infection (most do).
- Take Advantage of the Up Times. When you feel well, take advantage of it by eating well and by preparing meals that you can freeze for the down days. On the good days, eat when you feel hungry, even if it isn't mealtime. It is important to eat foods with good nutritional value; many nutrients can be stored in your body for later use.
Benefits of proper nutrition during chemotherapy:
- Improves tolerance of therapy. A well-nourished body is stronger and more resilient than a poorly nourished one. Studies have shown that nutrition can decrease the severity and duration of chemotherapy side effects such as vomiting, nausea, weakness, lowered immunity, and susceptibility to infection. There may be other specific side effects, but in general, people who eat well while on chemotherapy tend to feel better and stay more physically active and alert mentally.
- Increases the effectiveness of therapy. When patients feed themselves they also feed their cancer cells. Studies have shown that "well fed" cancer cells multiply more readily and are more susceptible to anticancer drugs than are slow growing undernourished cells. A good nutritional status may allow patients to withstand higher doses of drugs and increase the effectiveness of the therapy.
- Regulates your weight. Many patients lose weight on chemotherapy, but some gain weight. Either case is undesirable for the chemotherapy patient. Both of these conditions can lead to weakness, lethargy, depression, embarrassment, and a lack of self-esteem.
- Speeds recovery from treatment. Nutrients are the building blocks the body uses to rebuild the normal tissues that have been affected by the chemotherapy. If the proper nutrients in the adequate amounts are available, this recovery process takes place much more quickly and efficiently than when deficiencies are present.
Brain Cancer Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of brain cancer.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
- Are my children at risk for this condition?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Brain Cancer Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses a highly-focused dose of radiation directed at a small area of the brain tumor. It requires specialized scanning equipment, and 3-dimensional imaging. Another name for this method is a gamma knife.
Gamma knife devices allow doctors to deliver a precise dose of radiation to the tumor, with a minimal effect on surrounding brain tissue.
Complications of radiation therapy may include:
Brain Cancer Specialist
Continue to Brain Cancer Home Care
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