Brain Cancer Treatment- Cancer/Oncology

Doctors: Neurosurgeon

What is brain cancer (tumor)?

Brain cancer is a disease of the brain in which malignant cells grow in the brain tissue. Cancer cells grow to form a mass of cancer tissue, which affects brain functions such as memory, sensation, muscle control, and other body functions. Cancer cells, which develop from brain tissue are known as primary brain tumor. And if tumor spread from other body sites to the brain are known as secondary brain tumor.


Treatment of brain cancer depends on following factors:

  • Patient’s medical history, age, and overall health
  • The size, type, location, and grade of the tumor
  • Whether the tumor is putting any pressure on vital parts of the brain
  • If the tumor has spread to other parts of the body
  • Potential side effects
  • The patient’s tolerance level for certain medicines, procedures, etc.

If patient is suffering from low-grade non-aggressive tumor (grade I and II), patient is monitored regularly with repeated scans and treated with surgery only. After the surgery, grade II tumors are monitored closely to make sure there is no reappearance. On the other hand, higher grade tumors (grade III and IV) are malignant and can develop quickly. These types of tumors are more difficult to remove and need additional treatments along with surgery, for instance radiation, chemotherapy etc. Below is the list of treatment options for brain cancer:

  • Surgery: Surgery is performed as the first treatment to remove tumors from brain. Once the tumor is removed, patient would experience improvement of neurological symptoms. Depending on the patient’s condition, surgery can be followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy: X-rays or other types of radiation can either delay tumor development or destroy tumor cells.
  • Chemotherapy: This class of medications (oral or intravenous) help to kill quickly dividing cells.
  • Targeted therapy: This therapy only focuses on a specific element of a cell, for instance molecules or pathways necessary for cell growth.
  • Tumor Treating Fields: During this type of treatment, patient is asked to wear a device, which delivers the treatment locally or regionally that generates “wave-like” electric fields to interrupt the quick cell division of cancer cells.
  • Medications: Medicines act as a supportive care to relive symptoms. Corticosteroids can help to relieve swelling of the brain and pain. Anti-seizure medicines help to control seizures.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.