Treatment can involve surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Brain tumors are best treated by a team that includes:
- Medical oncologist
- Radiation oncologist
- Other health care providers, such as neurologists and social workers
Early treatment often improves the chance of a good outcome. Treatment depends on the size and type of tumor and your general health. Goals of treatment may be to cure the tumor, relieve symptoms, and improve brain function or comfort.
Surgery is often needed for most primary brain tumors. Some tumors may be completely removed. Those that are deep inside the brain or that enter brain tissue may be debulked instead of removed. Debulking is a procedure to reduce the tumor's size.
Tumors can be hard to remove completely by surgery alone. This is because the tumor invades surrounding brain tissue much like roots from a plant spread through soil. When the tumor cannot be removed, surgery may still help reduce pressure and relieve symptoms.
Radiation therapy is used for certain tumors.
Chemotherapy may be used with surgery or radiation treatment.
Other medicines used to treat primary brain tumors in children may include:
- Medicines to reduce brain swelling and pressure
- Anticonvulsants to reduce seizures
- Pain medicines
Comfort measures, safety measures, physical therapy, and occupational therapy may be needed to improve quality of life. Counseling, support groups, and similar measures can help people cope with the disorder.
You may consider enrolling in a clinical trial after talking with your treatment team.
Legal advice may be helpful for creating advance directives such as a power of attorney.