Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Tumor Brain Treatment

The treatment for a brain tumor depends first on whether the tumor is cancerous, or non-cancerous. A sample of the tumor must be examined under a microscope, in order to identify the type of tumor, and whether the tumor is cancerous. Non-cancerous tumors may require surgery or radiation therapy if they interrupt normal brain function. Corticosteroid medications help to reduce brain swelling caused by the tumor, and seizure medications help prevent seizures.

The treatment of a brain tumor depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor. It also depends on whether the tumor is benign or cancerous and prone to spread.

Treatment for non-cancerous tumors may include:

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:

For more information:

Tumor Brain Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of a brain tumor.

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?
  • 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?
  • Will I need speech therapy?
  • 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?

Tumor Brain 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:

Tumor Brain Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat brain tumors:

Tumor Brain Surgery

Brain Tumor Surgery
Many benign tumors can be completely removed with surgery. This results in a cure. Some tumors are deeply embedded in the brain and surrounded by vital structures or blood vessels. This makes some tumors impossible to remove without damaging other parts of the brain.

Some brain tumors may require the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt to correct hydrocephalus (increased fluid pressure inside the brain). A VP shunt is a tube that drains extra fluid from around the brain, into the abdominal cavity. The tube runs from the head to the abdomen, under the skin.

Brain surgery complications include:

Continue to Tumor Brain Home Care

Last Updated: May 13, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Tumor Brain References
  1. Gyure KA. Newly defined central nervous system neoplasms. Am J Clin Pathol. 2005 Jun;123 Suppl:S3-12. [16100866]
  2. Kreutzer J, Fahlbusch R. Diagnosis and treatment of pituitary tumors. Curr Opin Neurol. 2004 Dec;17(6):693-703. [15542978]
  3. Sam S, Molitch ME. The pituitary mass: diagnosis and management. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2005 Jan;6(1):55-62. [15711915]
  4. Tsai EC, Santoreneos S, Rutka JT. Tumors of the skull base in children: review of tumor types and management strategies. Neurosurg Focus. 2002 May 15;12(5):e1. [16119897]
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