Successfully treating tumors that form in the brain could be challenging. Brain tumor surgery can be especially difficult if the tumor is near a delicate part of the brain or the spinal cord. However, research in the past few years has significantly helped surgeons to provide better treatment options for such tumors. Surgeries have become more refined, various types of tumors that respond to chemotherapy have been identified and techniques for more targeted delivery of radiation therapy have improved the chances of survival in these cases.
Benign and Malignant
Brain tumors can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors can generally be removed and they seldom grow back. Some benign tumors however press on sensitive areas of the brain and could cause serious health problems. Benign tumors could sometimes be life threatening too.
Malignant tumors contain cancer cells. These cells grow and divide rapidly and invade the healthy parts of the brain too. They can even spread to other parts of the body.
The treatment options generally depend on several factors that include:
· Size, type and grade of the tumor
· Whether it is creating a pressure on other sensitive areas of the body
· Whether it has spread to other parts of the body
· Side effects of the treatment
· Patient’s overall health
It is a known fact that some types of tumors in the brain grow rapidly and some grow slowly. Depending on the action plan by your doctor, your treatment options could include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these.
Brain Tumor Surgery
Surgery is generally the first approach used for treating tumors in the brain. Removing the tumor can improve some of the neurological symptoms. It can also provide the doctors with tissue for further diagnosis.
In this surgery, a part of the skull is removed in order to operate on the tumor. After the tumor is successfully removed, bones from the patient’s body are used to cover the opening. Sometimes, performing a surgery is not possible because the tumor is located in a place where the surgeon cannot reach or is near a vital structure. In such cases the tumors are inoperable and other treatment options need to be explored.
Now -a -days advanced techniques are available for brain surgery such as cortical mapping that allows a doctor to identify the areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling the senses, speech, motor skills etc. Advanced imaging devices provide doctors with the right tools to map out the exact location of the tumor.
Other treatment options
Radiation Therapy and chemotherapy
Radiation therapy uses high energy rays to destroy the cancer cells. It is used to either slow down or stop the growth of the tumor. Radiation therapy is generally used along with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy the cancer cells. In case of brain tumors, chemotherapy is generally used after surgery if the tumor has grown again.