- 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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What is the treatment for a brain tumor?
People with brain tumors have several treatment options. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Many people get a combination of treatments.
The choice of treatment depends mainly on the following:
- The type and grade of brain tumor
- Its location in the brain
- Its size
- Your age and general health
For some types of brain cancer, the doctor also needs to know whether cancer cells were found in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices, the expected results, and the possible side effects. Because cancer therapy often damages healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities. You and your health care team can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical and personal needs.
You may want to talk with your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new treatment methods. See the Taking Part in Cancer Research section.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat brain tumors include neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and neuroradiologists.
Your health care team may also include an oncology nurse, a registered dietitian, a mental health counselor, a social worker, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, and a physical medicine specialist. Also, children may need tutors to help with schoolwork. (The Rehabilitation section has more information about therapists and tutors.)
You may want to ask your doctor these questions before you begin treatment:
- What type of brain tumor do I have?
- Is it benign or malignant?
- What is the grade of the tumor?
- What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend for me? Why?
- What are the expected benefits of each kind of treatment?
- What can I do to prepare for treatment?
- Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment? How can side effects be managed?
- What is the treatment likely to cost? Will my insurance cover it?
- How will treatment affect my normal activities? What is the chance that I will have to learn how to walk, speak, read, or write after treatment?
- Would a research study (clinical trial) be appropriate for me?
- Can you recommend other doctors who could give me a second opinion about my treatment options? How often should I have checkups?