Brain tumour treatment – therapies
Having a brain tumour is complex. Treating a brain tumour is complex. Increasingly, brain tumour treatment options are being ‘personalised’ to meet the needs of the patient.
Today, clinicians no longer treat just plain cancer; they use the knowledge of the biology of cancer to plan treatments more effectively, as they know so much more about it. The current options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy (chemo). Having ‘chemo’ will probably conjure up an image of a terribly sick, bald person. There have been major improvements in chemotherapy so that most regimens are well tolerated.
Many people have a combination of treatments and the choice of treatment depends mainly on the following:
- The type and grade of brain tumour
- Its location in the brain
- Its size
- General health
Cancer therapy often damages healthy cells and tissues and therefore side effects are common. Before treatment starts, ask your oncologist about possible side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities.
These are things you may want to ask before you begin treatment:
- What are my treatment choices? Are there any choices available elsewhere that aren’t available here?
- Which do you recommend for me? Why? How does that treatment work?
- 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?
- 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? If it isn’t, why not?
- I might decide to seek a second opinion. What would the questions be that you would ask?