- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Types
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Surgery
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - In Children
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
- Brain tumor facts*
- What is the brain?
- What are the tumor grades and types?
- Tumor grade
- Types of primary brain tumors
- What are the risk factors for brain tumors?
- What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?
- How are brain tumors diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a brain tumor?
- What type of surgery is available for brain tumors?
- Radiation therapy for brain tumors
- Chemotherapy for brain tumors
- What about a second opinion for brain tumor treatment?
- Nutrition during brain tumor treatment
- What supportive care is available for patients and caregivers?
- What about rehabilitation after brain tumor treatment?
- What about follow-up care after brain tumor treatment?
- Sources of support
- Taking part in cancer research
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Chemotherapy for brain tumors
Chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, is sometimes used to treat brain tumors. Drugs may be given in the following ways:
- By mouth or vein (intravenous): Chemotherapy may be given during and after radiation therapy. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. They may be given in an outpatient part of the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home. Rarely, you may need to stay in the hospital. The side effects of chemotherapy depend mainly on which drugs are given and how much. Common side effects include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, fever and chills, and weakness. If the drugs lower the levels of healthy blood cells, you're more likely to get infections, bruise or bleed easily, and feel very weak and tired. Your health care team will check for low levels of blood cells. Some side effects may be relieved with medicine.
- In wafers that are put into the brain: For some adults with high-grade glioma, the surgeon implants several wafers into the brain. Each wafer is about the size of a dime. Over several weeks, the wafers dissolve, releasing the drug into the brain. The drug kills cancer cells. It may help prevent the tumor from returning in the brain after surgery to remove the tumor. People who receive an implant (a wafer) that contains a drug are monitored by the health care team for signs of infection after surgery. An infection can be treated with an antibiotic.
You may want to ask your doctor these questions about chemotherapy:
- Why do I need this treatment?
- What will it do?
- Will I have side effects? What can I do about them?
- When will treatment start? When will it end?
- How will treatment affect my normal activities?