What is Brain Cancer Treatment?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

October 16, 2021 Cancer Hub 345 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Brain Cancer Treatment?

Treatment modalities like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy that help in treating cancer of the brain are known as brain cancer treatments.

Abnormal growth or overgrowth of the cells in the brain that may lead to the formation of masses is known as a brain tumor or brain cancer.

Brain tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Some tumors grow very quickly, while others may grow slowly.

Brain tumors can affect the function of the brain if they grow large enough to press on the surrounding blood vessels, nerves, and tissues.

In today’s article, we will be talking in detail about brain cancer and brain cancer treatment.

  • What is Brain Cancer?
  • What are the types of Brain Tumors?
  • What are the causes of Brain Cancer?
  • What are the risk factors for Brain Cancer?
  • What are the symptoms of Brain Cancer?
  • How to diagnose Brain Cancer?
  • What are the various Brain Cancer Treatments?
  • How to care after Brain Cancer Treatment?
  • What are the complications of Brain Cancer Treatment?
  • How to prevent Brain Cancer?
  • What is the cost of Brain Cancer Treatment in India?

What is Brain Cancer?

Abnormal growth or mass of cells that form in or around the brain is known as brain cancer or brain tumor.

Tumors that have developed in the brain are known as primary tumors, and tumors that form in other parts of the body and then spread to the brain are known as secondary or metastatic tumors.

What are the types of Brain Tumors?

Brain tumors are classified based on what kind of cells are involved and where they are formed.

The different types of benign (non-cancerous) brain tumors include:

  • Acoustic neuroma: These types of tumors occur on the vestibular nerve (the nerve that goes from the inner ear to the brain).
  • Gangliocytoma: These brain tumors are formed in the nerve cells (neurons).
  • Pineocytoma: These are slow-growing brain tumors that are formed in the pineal gland (a gland located deep inside the brain, and responsible for the secretion of the melatonin hormone).
  • Meningioma: These are the most common type of brain tumors. These types of tumors develop very slowly. They develop in the meninges (tissue layers protecting the brain and the spinal cord or the backbone). In a few cases, meningioma can be cancerous.
  • Chordoma: These tumors grow slowly, and usually begin at the skull base and the bottom portion of the spine.
  • Pituitary adenoma: These brain tumors are very small and are formed in the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain and responsible for making and controlling the various hormones in the body).

The different types of malignant (cancerous) brain tumors are:

  • Glioma: These brain tumors are developed in the glial cells (cells surrounding the nerve cells). These are the most common types of malignant brain tumors. Gliomas can further be of the following different types:
  • Astrocytoma: They form in glial cells known as astrocytes.
  • Glioblastoma: Astrocytomas that grow quickly and are aggressive in nature are known as glioblastoma.
  • Oligodendroglioma: These tumors begin in the cells which create myelin (insulation layer around the nerves in the brain).
  • Medulloblastoma: They are formed at the base of the skull and grow very fast. They are the most common type of brain tumor that is seen in children.

What are the Causes of Brain Cancer?

The precise cause of brain cancer is not known. However, the following are thought to cause brain cancer:

  • Defects or changes (mutations) in the genes may lead to the growth of the brain cells uncontrollably, giving rise to a tumor
  • Family history of brain tumors
  • Exposure to radiation

What are the risk factors for Brain Cancer?

Some factors increase the risk of getting brain cancer. These factors include:

  • Exposure to high doses of radiation
  • Family history of brain cancer
  • Increase in age
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to certain chemicals like lead, rubber, plastic, and petroleum
  • Exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers

What are the symptoms of Brain Cancer?

Some of the common symptoms seen in brain cancer include:

  • Headaches 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vision disorders like double vision, or blurred vision
  • Lack of balance
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Difficulty in thinking
  • Lapse of memory ( Know more about- What is Memory Loss? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention )
  • Speech disorders
  • Abnormal movements of the eye
  • Jerking of muscles
  • Muscle twitching
  • Drowsiness
  • Tingling or numbness of legs or arms
  • Syncope (temporary loss of consciousness)
  • Changes in personality or behavior

How to diagnose Brain Cancer?

  • Physical examination: The doctor will first do a general physical examination and look for signs of any illnesses. The doctor will also note down the patient’s medical history, and family history of the disease.
  • Neurological exam: The doctor will check for changes in the balance, coordination, mental status, vision, hearing, and reflexes of the patient in a neurological examination. These changes may diagnose that part of the brain which may have a tumor.
  • Blood tests: These tests are recommended to check for tumor markers, which are substances secreted by the tumors into the blood.
  • Imaging tests: Certain imaging tests like the CT (computed tomography) scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, PET (positron emission tomography) scans are performed to create images of the brain. This helps the doctor to locate the tumor and identify whether the tumor is cancerous or non-cancerous.
  • Biopsy: A sample of the tissue growth is excised by the doctor and sent to the laboratory for diagnosis.
  • Spinal tap: The doctor removes the fluid from around the spine (backbone) by using a small needle. This fluid is sent to the laboratory for examination to check for cancer cells.

What are the various Brain Cancer Treatment?

The treatment of brain cancer depends on the size, location, and type of brain tumor. Sometimes, a combination of various treatments is used to treat brain cancer.

The various types of treatments for brain cancer include:

Surgery:

  • The brain tumor is removed by surgery, when the tumor is located in an area that is easily accessible to the surgeon.
  • The procedure requires good precision and is sometimes performed when the patient is awake, to minimize the chances of damage to the functional areas of the brain.

Radiation therapy:

  • High doses of x-rays are used to destroy the brain cancer cells in case of radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy is sometimes advised before surgery to shrink the tumor so that the surgeon needs to remove less tissue.

Chemotherapy:

  • The doctor recommends the use of certain medications to kill the cancer cells in case of chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy drugs can be received orally or intravenously (injected through the vein)

Immunotherapy:

  • It is a type of treatment in which the body’s own immune (disease-fighting) system is used to fight cancer.
  • The therapy helps in the stimulation of the immune system so that it can do its job more effectively.

Targeted therapy:

  • A therapy in which the drugs target specific characteristics of the cancer cells, without causing any damage to the healthy cells.
  • It is recommended when the patient is unable to tolerate the side effects caused due to chemotherapy, such as nausea and fatigue.

Laser thermal ablation:

  • Lasers are used to heat and destroy the cancer cells in this procedure.

How to care after Brain Cancer Treatment?

  • Regular check-ups and screening for cancer is a must after treatment, to check for recurrence of cancer.
  • Supportive (palliative) care is provided by the doctors, nurses, and professionals from other specializations to improve the quality of life of a cancer patient and his/her family members.
  • For rehabilitation following a brain cancer treatment your doctor may refer you to:
  • Physiotherapist: who helps the patient to regain lost muscle strength and motor skills.( Know more about- What is Physiotherapy? Purpose, Procedure, Benefits, Disadvantages )
  • Speech therapist: who helps in the treatment of speech disorders associated with brain cancer. ( Know more about- What is Speech Therapy? Causes, Procedure, Benefits, Disadvantages )
  • Occupational therapist: who helps the patient to get back to his/her normal activities and work post brain cancer treatment or any other major illness.

What are the complications of Brain Cancer Treatment?

The complications of brain cancer treatment may include:

  • Bleeding 
  • Infection
  • Swelling in the brain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood changes
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Problems in urination and bowel movements. ( Know more about- What is Blood in Stools? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention )

If you notice any of the above complications after brain cancer treatment, contact your doctor immediately.

How to prevent Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer cannot be prevented as such, but one can reduce the risk of getting brain cancer by:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoid any unnecessary radiation exposure
  • Avoid exposure to insecticides and pesticides
  • Avoid exposure to carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals

What is the cost of Brain Cancer Treatment in India?

The total cost of brain cancer treatment in India can range from around INR 2,50,000 to INR 7,50,000. However, the cost of the procedure may vary across different hospitals. There are many big hospitals and specialized doctors in India for brain cancer treatment. The cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the expenses of brain cancer treatment, there will be a cost of staying in a hotel, cost of living, and cost of local travel. Apart from this, after the procedure, the patient is kept in hospital for 5 days and in the hotel for 15 days for recovery. So, the total cost of brain cancer treatment in India comes to be around INR 4,00,000 to INR 11,00,000. 

We hope that all your questions regarding brain cancer and brain cancer treatment have been answered through this article.

If you want to get more information and the treatment of brain cancer, then immediately contact a Surgical Oncologist.

We only aim to give you information through the article and do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and the correct treatment plan.

Over 1 Million Users Visit Us Monthly

Join our email list to get the exclusive unpublished health content right in your inbox


    captcha