The treatment options for brain cancer depends on a number of factors such as:
• Size of the tumour (small or big)
• Type of tumour (benign or malignant)
• Grade of the tumour
• Effect of the tumour (symptoms)
• General health of the patient
• Presence of other co-morbid conditions
• Side effect of the treatments
The treatment options available for brain tumours are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. One or all of these treatment options are chosen depending upon the above-mentioned factors. In cases of lower grade tumours, surgery is the first line of treatment to be followed by chemotherapy or radiation only if necessary. In higher grade tumours, a combination of all these three is necessary.
Surgery: Surgery is the common treatment method for brain surgery. The surgeon will always attempt to remove the entire tumour, whenever possible. In case if the tumour cannot be entirely removed without causing damage to the surrounding area, then a partial removal is done. This will also help alleviate the pain and other symptoms, by reducing the pressure put on the brain.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. The doctor may use just one drug or a combination of drugs, given orally or by injection into a muscle or blood vessel.
Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-powered rays to destroy cancer cells and stop them from growing. It is usually used to kill cancer cells which cannot be removed via surgery or target those cancer cells which survived surgery.
Risks of brain tumour treatment:
While the brain tumour is a serious health hazard, a treatment for it can itself create serious complications. All types of brain tumours come with its share of risks. In surgery, there is always a possibility of damaging the brain tissue close to the tumour, especially so when the tumour is in a delicate area close to sensitive structures. The after-effects could be irreversible brain damage. In radiation therapy, the tissue around the tumour exposed to the radiation can undergo irreversible changes. In chemotherapy, the blood-brain barrier which is a protective mechanism for preventing hazardous chemicals could prevent the entry of the drugs as well.
Dos and Don’ts after brain tumour surgery:
Recovery from surgery is a very gradual process and could be a difficult period for the patient, relatives, and the doctors. There are certain things that one should understand and follow after brain tumour treatment.
• Show patience for results to be obvious
• Cooperate fully with the doctors and the nursing staff
• Share your concerns with your medical team
• Follow the diet prescribed and report any problems with swallowing
• Don’t panic if there is only little improvement in the short term
• Don’t forget to take medicines on time
• Don’t ignore signs or symptoms that were not present before and report immediately to the doctor.