Brain tumor treatment is done to eliminate or operate abnormal cell formation in the tissues of brain. Treatment for brain tumors depends on a number of factors including the type, location and size of the tumor as well as the patient’s age and general health. Methods and procedures of treatment differs for children and adults. This surgical procedure is conducted in the presence of experts from different medical branches such as neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses and a dietitian.
Brain tumors are treated with three types of procedures, which are as follows:
- Surgery – It is the usual treatment for most brain tumors. In this procedure, a neurosurgeon makes an opening in the skull to remove a brain tumor. This operation is called a craniotomy. The surgeon attempts to remove the entire tumor. If the tumor cannot be removed completely without damaging vital brain tissue, surgeon may remove as much of the tumor as possible
- Radiation Therapy – Also called radiotherapy, is a method in which high-powered rays are used to damage cancer cells and stop their growth. It is often used to destroy tumor tissue that cannot be removed with surgery or to kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery
- Chemotherapy – It is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The doctor may use just one drug or a combination usually giving the drugs orally or by injection into a blood vessel or muscle
A tumor is a mass of tissue that’s formed by an accumulation of abnormal cells. Normally, the cells in your body age, die, and are replaced by new cells. With cancer and other tumors, something disrupts this cycle. Tumor cells grow, even though the body does not need them, and unlike normal old cells, they don’t die. As this process goes on, the tumor continues to grow as more and more cells are added to the mass.
Primary brain tumors emerge from the various cells that make up the brain and central nervous system and are named for the kind of cell in which they first form. The most common types of adult brain tumors are gliomas and astrocytic tumors. These tumors form from astrocytes and other types of glial cells, which are cells that help keep nerves healthy.
The second most common type of adult brain tumors are meningeal tumors. These form in the meninges, the thin layer of tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord.
- Causes Brain Tumors
- Medical radiation
- Previous cancers
- Genetic conditions and family history
- medical conditions and medicines
- Body size and exercise
Other possible risk factors : Power line,Mobile phone,hair dye,Smoking and alcohol
Types of Brain Tumors
- Unspecified gliomas
- Vestibular schwannomas (acoustic neuromas)
- Germ cell tumours
- Pituitary tumours
- Central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma
Symptoms of Brain Tumor
The symptoms of primary and metastatic brain tumors are similar.
The following symptoms are most common:
- Difficulty walking
- Problems with memory
- Other nonspecific symptoms and signs include the following:
- Altered mental status — changes in concentration, memory, attention, or alertness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abnormalities in vision
- Difficulty with speech
- Gradual changes in intellectual capacity or emotional response
Brain Tumor Surgery
Brain tumour surgery is an operation to remove a brain tumour or take a sample (biopsy) or to reduce pressure in the brain .Surgery usually is the first step in treating most benign and many malignant tumors. Although a second opinion is not always necessary, many patients seek one before proceeding with surgery.
Surgery is the initial treatment for most benign and many malignant tumors. It is often the preferred treatment when a tumor can be removed without any unnecessary risk of neurological damage.
Surgery may be recommended to:
- Provide a tumor sample to establish an accurate diagnosis.
- Remove as much tumor as possible, either to relieve symptoms caused by the tumor itself or to reduce the amount of tumor to be treated with radiation or chemotherapy.
- Enable direct access for chemotherapy, radiation implants, or genetic treatment of malignant tumors.
- Relieve seizures (due to a brain tumor) that are hard to control.
- It is possible to cure some brain tumours with surgery. This depends on
- Whether the tumour can be completely removed
Treatment for Brain Tumor
The main treatment for a brain tumour is usually surgery. You may have radiotherapy as well, or instead. You may also have chemotherapy either after diagnosis or if the tumour starts to grow again or Proton therapy
The most suitable treatment for any brain tumour depends on the following things.
The type of brain tumour
- The position of the tumour and how close it is to vital or delicate parts of the brain
- Size of the tumour
- Grade of the tumour
- Your age
- As well as the factors above, the surgeon will need to consider the following things.
- Your general health
- Your medical history
- How the tumour is affecting you
- Your own wishes about your condition and treatment
- You may have surgery for a brain tumour
- To remove the whole tumour
- Remove most of the tumour (called a subtotal resection or debulking)
- To take a biopsy of the tumour
- To remove all or part of a growing benign tumour
- The Surgeon may suggest radiotherapy after surgery or possibly as a treatment on its own. Depending on your type of treatment, The doctor will decide to treat
- Just the tumour or the area where the tumour was before it was removed (the tumour bed)
- The tumour (or tumour bed) plus a surrounding margin of healthy brain tissue
- The whole brain
- The whole brain and spinal cord
For certain types of brain or spinal cord tumours, specialists may use stereotactic radiotherapy or radiosurgery. These types of radiotherapy give radiotherapy beams to the head from different angles. So they give a very high radiation dose to the tumour but lower doses to the area around the tumour. This type of treatment is a very precise treatment given to treat small tumours or tumours that are close to very important structures in the brain.
You may have chemotherapy to relieve symptoms or alongside radiotherapy. You may have treatment as tablets or capsules, or as an injection into a vein
Proton therapy allows the doctor to deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumor with limited damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and/or organs. For many cancers, proton therapy is one of the most precise and advanced forms of radiation treatment available. Proton therapy minimizes side effects as compared to traditional radiation therapy and also long term complications can be avoided.
CyberKnife is the world’s only robotic radiosurgery system that treats tumors throughout the body non-invasively. The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for benign and malignant tumors anywhere in the body. CyberKnife allows us to deliver high-dose radiation to a very specific location with very high accuracy. t’s useful for hard-to-reach tumors in the brain, as well as for cases of multiple tumors where we wouldn’t want to necessarily radiate the patient’s whole brain. “Instead of an invasive frame, CyberKnife uses an Aquaplast mask that’s contoured to the brain tumor patient’s skull,” Dr. Foroohar explains. “With the mask on their head, the patient undergoes a CT scan. That CT gives us reference points based on the mask contoured to the patient’s head.
CyberKnife patients also undergo an MRI—without the mask—using a protocol where the images are very thinly sliced.Then the images from the CT and the MRI are merged or fused.
The merged images give us a CT/MRI with a frame, without having to use an invasive frame on the patient’s head.The CyberKnife software uses those markers to know exactly where the head is to deliver precise radiation to the exact target.
CyberKnife is image-guided radiation.It essentially ‘paints’ the tumor with radiation, precisely delivering treatment to the tumor alone while sparing the healthy tissue surrounding it.
And CyberKnife is the only system that monitors and tracks tumor position continually during treatment.
Benefits for patients include:
- Pain-free—no anesthesia needed
- Outpatient procedure
- No downtime—go right back to your normal activities
- No invasive head or body frame
- No need to hold your breath during treatment
- In most cases, no implanted markers or fiducials
Glioblastomas (GBM) are tumors that arise from astrocytes—the star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like,” or supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are usually highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels. Glioblastomas are generally found in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain, but can be found anywhere in the brain or spinal cord.
There are two types of glioblastomas:
Primary, or de novo: These tumors tend to form and make their presence known quickly. This is the most common form of glioblastoma; it is very aggressive.
Secondary: These tumors have a longer, somewhat slower growth history, but still are very aggressive. They may begin as lower-grade tumors which eventually become higher grade. They tend to be found in people 45 and younger, and represent about 10% of glioblastomas.
Because glioblastomas can grow rapidly, the most common symptoms are usually caused by increased pressure in the brain. These symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Depending on the location of the tumor, patients can develop a variety of other symptoms such as weakness on one side of the body, memory and/or speech difficulties, and visual changes.
Glioblastoma can be difficult to treat because the tumors contain so many different types of cells. Some cells may respond well to certain therapies, while others may not be affected at all. This is why the treatment plan for glioblastoma may combine several approaches.
Astrocytoma Brain Tumor
Astrocytomas are tumors that arise from astrocytes—star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like” or supportive tissue of the brain.These tumors are “graded” on a scale from I to IV based on how normal or abnormal the cells look. There are low-grade astrocytomas and high-grade astrocytomas. Low-grade astrocytomas are usually localized and grow slowly. High-grade astrocytomas grow at a rapid pace and require a different course of treatment. Most astrocytoma tumors in children are low grade. In adults, the majority are high grade.
Headaches, seizures, memory loss, and changes in behavior are the most common early symptoms of astrocytoma. Other symptoms may occur depending on the size and location of the tumor.
Inoperable Brain Tumor
Inoperable tumors are those located in an inaccessible place in the brain, or those that are composed of multiple tumors that cannot all be removed. Inoperable tumors can be of any type or size. Some treatments are available for removing such tumors.
Recovery After Brain Tumor Surgery
A patient is recommended for speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The aim of these therapies is to speed up the recovery period so that the patient may get on with his routine life as soon as possible.
Success and Survival Rate for Brain Tumors
The type of tumor is important in estimating a person’s outlook. But many other factors can also affect outlook, such as the location of the tumor and whether it can be removed with surgery, as well as a person’s age and overall health. The survival rate is determined in terms of percentage of people who survive for 5 years after being diagnosed of having a brain tumor.