Advertisement

How are brain tumors treated?

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.

Surgery
Surgery is the usual first treatment for most brain tumors. Before surgery begins, you may be given general anesthesia, and your scalp is shaved. You probably won't need your entire head shaved.
Surgery to open the skull is called a craniotomy. The surgeon makes an incision in your scalp and uses a special type of saw to remove a piece of bone from the skull.

Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy kills brain tumor cells with high-energy x-rays, gamma rays, or protons.
Radiation therapy usually follows surgery. The radiation kills tumor cells that may remain in the area. Sometimes, people who can't have surgery have radiation therapy instead.

Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, is sometimes used to treat brain tumors.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

Continue Learning about Brain Tumors

What is brain tumor embolization?
Joshua B. Bederson, MDJoshua B. Bederson, MD
Some tumors are fed by a network of blood vessels. Surgery on these tumors can be made safer by ...
More Answers
What are brain and spinal cord tumors?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Spinal cord tumors are growths that affect the spinal cord. These tumors can be noncancerous (also c...
More Answers
Are brain tumors serious?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Brain tumors are serious. Even if a tumor is not malignant, it can cause damage to the brain if it g...
More Answers
Why Is There Concern that Cell Phones May Cause Cancer?
Why Is There Concern that Cell Phones May Cause Cancer?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.