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Brain Cancer Treatment

in NJ, CT, & MD

Because brain cancer manifests differently in each patient, individualized treatment plans employing the latest therapies are critical to achieving the best possible outcome.

Doctor reviewing MRI of brain

The oncology professionals of Regional Cancer Care Associates draw on a wide range of therapies and work with an array of other specialists to serve patients with brain cancer in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. Learn more about the different treatments for brain cancer, plus the symptoms and risk factors to be aware of, from our trusted oncologists and hematologists.

Treatment for Brain Cancer

In developing a treatment plan, physicians must first identify the type and size of the brain tumor. It is also important to determine if the tumor rests near sensitive or important brain structures.

The diagnostic process begins with obtaining a detailed history to identify a patient’s symptoms, risk factors for brain cancer, and other potentially significant information. Physical and neurological examinations also are performed, and a physician may order blood work, other tests, and a neuropsychological evaluation to rule out other potential causes for the patient’s symptoms and obtain a better overall assessment of the patient’s health. Imaging studies also play an important role when brain cancer is suspected, with a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study often ordered. Once a diagnosis of brain cancer is established and the type and grade of the tumor is determined, physicians may opt for one or many treatment methods, such as:

Surgery

For slow-growing brain tumors, surgery may be the preferred treatment option because it has the potential to remove the entire tumor. If the surgeon cannot excise the whole tumor, additional treatment may be needed. Any individual who has brain surgery on the brain must first have a craniotomy. This procedure involves removing part of the skull to give surgeons access to the affected area of the brain. Once the tumor is removed, surgeons close this opening in the skull by putting the portion of bone they removed back in place and securing it to adjoining bone.

Surgery typically is performed under the guidance of sophisticated imaging techniques to enable the surgeon to locate the cancerous tissues precisely and avoid contact with other brain structures.

A biopsy, or sample, of the tumor removed during surgery is sent for examinations by a pathologist, who will assign the tumor a grade. This information helps determine plans for any subsequent treatment. While surgery typically is performed with the intent of curing or controlling brain cancer, the procedures can also relieve symptoms by removing a tumor that was pressing on or interfering with the function of a particular region area of the brain.

Oral Medications

Medications are typically administered to alleviate symptoms. For example, physicians may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease swelling in the brain and the headaches this can cause. Physicians may also prescribe medicine for managing seizures caused by brain tumors.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-ray beams to kill cancerous cells and slow the growth of tumors. Patients may receive radiation therapy alone or before or after surgery. When administered following surgery, the goal is to eliminate any remaining cancerous cells and to prevent such cells from growing back. External-beam radiation therapy is the most common form of radiation therapy for patients with brain cancer. Another option is brachytherapy, in which tiny radiation-emitting seeds are implanted in the brain inside or immediately adjacent to the tumor.

Radiosurgery is another type of radiation therapy that uses a high-dose radiation beam to hit the tumor and affected area directly. This method of radiation preserves healthy surrounding tissues and often requires only one session.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses intravenous or oral medications to destroy brain cancer cells. Individuals with cancer typically receive multiple sessions of chemotherapy to fully eliminate the tumor. Chemotherapy also may be administered to slow the growth of a tumor or eliminate it following surgery. Throughout treatment, physicians continue to monitor the tumor and its size via Imaging studies.

Targeted Therapy

This treatment uses medications that directly target specific molecules – generally proteins — on the surface of or inside malignant cells in the brain. Targeted therapy is an option when a biopsy shows that a patient’s tumor has molecules that will respond to a specific targeted therapy.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy harnesses the power of the body’s own immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer symptoms vary based on the size and location of the tumor. Because different regions of the brain control different parts of the body, having a tumor in any one section of the brain can dictate which symptoms arise. Generally, patients with a tumor in the brain experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to hear well, or at all
  • Seizures
  • Severe or consistent headaches
  • Behavioral changes
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Confusion
  • Inability to process thoughts
  • Blurred or lost vision
  • Feeling tired
  • Loss of sensation in limbs
  • Loss of balance

Brain Cancer Risk Factors

The following risk factors increase the likelihood of developing brain cancer:

  • Existing cancer: If a patient currently has or previously has had cancer, the disease may spread to the brain. This is termed secondary or metastatic brain cancer. Breast, lung, colon, testicular, and kidney cancer, as well as melanoma, are the cancers that most commonly cause brain metastases.
  • Family history: In some cases, patients may be genetically predisposed to developing a brain tumor. Having a family history of any type of cancer can increase the potential for developing cancer.
  • Radiation exposure: High or frequent exposure to radiation may cause a brain tumor to develop. Because radiation therapy is often used to treat tumors, physicians must consistently monitor the brain’s condition throughout the treatment.

Receive Treatment at Regional Cancer Care Associates

The skilled team at Regional Cancer Care Associates offers comprehensive, accessible and personalized care to patients in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. Our team of oncologists and hematologists has extensive knowledge of cancers and blood disorders and develops and implements treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs. Contact us today to learn more about treatment for brain cancer.

Regional Cancer Care Associates — Offering advanced cancer care

Doctors at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) are specialists in brain cancer. These experts have proven their leadership as professors, clinicians and researchers and were trained at the world’s most distinguished medical institutions. RCCA offers high-quality, advanced treatment near your home. We work with you and your family to make sure your care is second to none.

You can set up an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you. Or, for more information, call (844) 346-7222.

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