Medical researchers and doctors continue their research in 2021 to identify causes and treatments for brain cancer. Typically, a multidisciplinary care team consisting of doctors, nurse practitioners, oncologists, dietitians, and rehab specialists work together to create treatment plans for patients.
Although surgery is often considered the “last resort” when treating brain cancer, it is important to know what your options are if your care team is recommending it.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), there are over 130 types of brain tumors, often with complicated names such as astrocytoma, meningioma, pituitary adenoma, and glioblastoma. Every type is unique and so are the treatment plans, which depends on your condition and tumor stage.
Clinical trials and research studies are ongoing to find out more about brain tumors and their treatments. A recent NCI study explains how cancer cells adapt and survive inside the human brain. This study also explains how different cancer cell mutations disrupt the oxygen flow inside the human body, leading to compromised internal organ functions.
Additionally, in 2020 the FDA granted “orphan drug” status to a medicine for Glioma—a type of brain tumor that accounts for 80% of the total malignant brain tumor cases. This means the drug is so important to the government that it will help with the development and distribution.
Let’s look at some types of brain tumor treatments and their role in stopping the progression of cancer.
Once a cancerous brain tumor is diagnosed, typically after comprehensive imaging procedures, patients are cared for with strict medical supervision by a team of brain specialists.
Here’s a brief overview of the various techniques used to treat patients with brain tumors:
A Craniotomy is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon opens and removes the bone (called the flap) from the targeted part of the patient’s skull. After removing the tumor, the surgeon puts the flap back into place, securing it with metal brackets and then stitches. This surgery is commonly used for pituitary tumors and meningiomas.
If the tumor is located in the frontal or temporal part of the brain, an “awake” craniotomy is sometimes performed. Surgeons use topical anesthetics to numb the area and communicate with the patient during the surgery.
Reputable brain and spine facilities such as Sierra Neurosurgery give patients the chance to consult with expert brain surgeons certified by The American Board of Neurosurgery in order to determine the best treatment plan.
Minimally Invasive Neuroendoscopy
Also referred to as “keyhole brain surgery”, this treatment removes the area where a tumor has developed along with the fluid-filled spaces called ventricles. This treatment is also effective in removing fluid buildup in the brain, called hydrocephalus.
During the procedure, the surgeon starts by making a small hole and inserts an endoscope (small camera) through it. The endoscope has surgical tools attached at the end to remove the tumor.
Radiation therapy, otherwise known as radiation surgery or the Gamma Knife, is recommended for patients with a metastatic brain tumor when surgery isn’t an option. It uses alpha, beta, and gamma rays, and other energy sources like protons and neutrons. These powerful rays are aimed at cancer cells from various angles in an effort to shrink them and stop their rapid advancement.
Many new treatments such as stereotactic radiosurgery and proton beam therapy are now being used to treat cancer patients with metastatic tumors.
Your neurosurgeon might recommend precision medicine treatment for cancerous brain tumors. This process involves targeting molecular cells inside the brain and enhancing their healthy growth. Moreover, many types of targeted therapies are performed to halt enzymatic and molecular proliferation of cancer cells inside healthy brain tissues.
Medical experts have started using advanced biomarking testing technique that detect genes, proteins, or tumor markers to learn more about a patient’s cancer condition.
Schedule an Appointment with Qualified Brain Tumor Specialists in Nevada
As a leading brain, spine, and pain management treatment center, Sierra Neurosurgery has qualified and experienced spine and brain tumor specialists in Reno and northern Nevada. Our expansive range of services include minimally invasive spine surgery, neuro-oncology, brain tumor treatment, X-ray and MRI imaging services, and more.