Methods Used To Treat Brain Tumours

The most suitable treatment for a brain tumour depends on the type of tumour. It also depends on the position in the brain and the tumour size and grade. A team of health professionals work together to decide on the best treatment for you. Your specialists will also consider your age and general health, and your own wishes about your treatment.

Surgery

Removing a growing brain tumour is important because as the tumour gets bigger it increases the pressure inside the head. It is this increased pressure that causes some of the symptoms of brain tumours. The surgeon may be able to remove the whole tumour. Even if your surgeon doesn’t think your brain tumour can be completely removed, they are still likely to want to take out as much as possible.

Radiotherapy

Your specialist may suggest radiotherapy after surgery, or possibly as a treatment on its own. You may have radiotherapy just to the tumour, or you may have it to the whole brain or the brain and spine.

Chemotherapy

Your specialist is most likely to recommend chemotherapy to help relieve symptoms in advanced brain tumours or tumours that have come back.

Steroids

Steroids are commonly given to reduce and prevent inflammation around a brain tumour. This reduces the pressure inside the skull, which helps to ease headaches and other ‘pressure’ symptoms. Painkillers may also be needed to ease headaches.

Anti-seizure medication

If the tumour causes seizures then anticonvulsant medication will usually control them.

Ventriculoperitoneal shunt (Also called a VP shunt)

A VP shunt may be placed in the head to drain excess fluid from inside the brain thereby helping to control the pressure inside the brain. The VP shunt is a surgically placed tube connected from the ventricles of the brain which deposits fluids into the abdominal cavity, heart or large veins of the neck.

Clinical trials

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial as for some, this may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are conducted to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.

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