In all cases, treatment should be individualized by you. You do not have to rush to make a decision, so consider options carefully. Research shows that cancer survivors of all educational levels and backgrounds can have a hard time communicating with their healthcare team. One of the best ways to improve communication with your health care team is to prepare your visits so that you can make the best of your time.
A treatment plan is a way to deal with both the short and long term goals of managing your brain or spinal cord tumor. There are different treatment methods. Patients have time for second opinions and to talk through all of their options with their doctors and develop a treatment plan that best fits their needs.
Social networking and online support groups are important tools. Reaching out to others who have or have had similar experiences can provide you with valuable insights. Please click online community for more information on clinically facilitated support online through the Cancer Support Community.
Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
Treatment is based on the type of tumor and other factors, and in many cases a combination of treatments is used. Doctors plan each person's treatment individually to give them the best chance of treating the cancer effectively while limiting the possible long-term side effects.
Several types of treatment may be used to treat central nervous system (CNS) tumors, including:
Surgery is the most common treatment for removing a brain tumor. The doctor removes the cancerous cells from the brain tissue. Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type of tumor and where it is in the brain.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body.
Hyperthermia therapy is a treatment in which body tissue is heated above normal temperature to damage and kill cancer cells or to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs.
Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy
Follow-up care after treatment is important. Even when the cancer seems to be gone, it can return if cancer cells remain in the body after treatment. The doctor monitors the recovery of the person treated and checks for recurrence through lab tests, x-rays, CT scans, and other tests.