Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Learn About Brain Cancer Treatment Options


Brain cancer is abnormal cell growth within the brain tissue. The disease, of which there are more than 100 sub-classifications, can strike anyone--children, adults and the elderly. Some people, such as those with auto-immune diseases and those who have been exposed to radiation, are at higher risk of developing tumors within the brain. When you learn about the options available, you can make better decisions about treatment of the disease.


Difficulty: Moderate



Step One

Understand that brain cancer may be treated in a variety of ways, depending on its location and the age and general health of the patient. Most often it is treated with a combination of surgery and radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Step Two

Learn that there are three surgical procedures that can be used. In a craniotomy, a bone flap is removed to expose the brain so that the tumor can be excised. Laser microsurgery uses a laser beam and is often performed after a craniotomy to kill any malignant cells that couldn't be removed. The surgeon might also perform brain-mapping. In this process, the patient is awake but sedated, so that he can communicate with the surgeon during the surgery. Brain-mapping is often performed when the tumor is near areas which control speech and motor function.

Step Three

Follow up surgery with radiation therapy, which can more than double the survival rate. Almost all surgery is followed with radiation therapy (or, occasionally, chemotherapy) in order to kill malignant cells which couldn't be excised.

Step Four

Work hard at rehabilitation. Because of the physical and emotional effects of brain cancer, rehabilitation can be a long process. You will most likely have to make many lifestyle changes and possibly have to retrain your speech or motor functions.

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