Brain Tumor Treatment
A brain tumour is a cancerous/non-cancerous mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Two of the most common forms of brain cancer are Metastatic Brain Tumours (secondary spread from other parts) and Glioma (primarily from brain).
Signs & Symptoms
- Headaches (usually worse in the morning)
- Muscle jerking or twitching (seizures or convulsions)
- Vision problem
- Speech & Hearing difficulty
- Weakness in the arms & legs
- Changes in mood, personality or ability to concentrate
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Memory loss
- Radiation exposure
- Family history
- Immune system disorders
- Environmental factors such as exposure to vinyl chloride (a chemical used to manufacture plastics), petroleum products, etc
Reason for performing the treatment
Tumors in the brain are a dangerous event, as the mass of tissues can exert pressure on the brain and cause severe pain and loss of function. Most of the time, the tumors have their own blood supply, and this can leach upon the required blood supply in the brain. Moreover, if the tumor is detected as cancerous, then it can spread to the other sites of the body. Moreover, it can hinder the normal functioning of the brain, and cause disruptions in the neural activity of the brain.
The treatment protocol may comprise of radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery in extreme cases. However, multiple treatments can also be applied depending upon the stage and aggressiveness of the tumor.
There are multiple avenues through which a brain tumor could be treated. The surgeon or the oncologist shall determine the proper course of action depending upon the seriousness, size, and the spread of the tumor. The different treatments can be stated as;
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of chemical agents to treat a tumor. They can be given orally or intravenously. Most of the chemotherapeutic agents are non-targeted, which means that they can kill normal cells as well as cancerous cells. This treatment also has various side effects.
- Radiation Therapy: This therapy uses radiation of high-intensity particles or energies to kill the cancerous cells of the brain. The radiation could be applied to a specific site or given to the whole of the brain. The radiation is usually given from outside of the body, however, in very rare cases, it can be also placed inside the body.
- Radio Surgery:This method is not a surgery per se, rather a new approach to the radiotherapy for killing the cancer cells. The beams of radiation are focused on a specific affected area of the brain. The individual beams are not very powerful, but at the point of focus, they become very large in strength and kill the cancer cells. The treatment is quick and the patient can go to their home the next day.
- Surgery: This is done when there is a chance of removing the tumor from the brain is available. Before surgery, the staffs take the patients history, ongoing treatments, and any prevalent drug allergy. During the surgery, the surgeon may use the minimally invasive route or the open route. If the tumor is present in a sensitive area of the brain, the surgeon will remove as much as possible without affecting the brain. As it is a much invasive surgery, the patient is kept under anesthesia the whole time.