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Discussion of next steps

  • Sunday, 08 February 2009 18:03
  • Last Updated Wednesday, 11 February 2009 06:57

How are brain tumors treated?

Treatment for brain tumors depends on the type, size, and location of the Tumor. Generally, standard treat­ment consists of a combination of surgery (when pos­sible), radiation therapy, and Chemotherapy. The goals of surgery are to establish the diagnosis by removing a sample for the pathologist to examine, and to safely remove as much of the tumor as possible. While surgi­cal removal is a mainstay of therapy, surgery alone cannot address the microscopic tumor cells which may have already spread through normal brain tissue by the time the tumor is discovered.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are usually used as secondary treatments to destroy tumor cells that cannot be removed by surgery or when surgery is not advised. Presently, the standard protocol involves radiation ther­apy five days a week for six weeks, in combination with a daily oral chemotherapy called Temodar® (Temozolo­mide). In most cases, Temodar® ( Temozolomide) is then administered on a monthly cycle of five days per month. The dosage and number of cycles is determined by the doctor. Regular blood draws will monitor the patient’s blood counts. Periodic MRIs will be used to monitor the tumor’s response to treatment.

The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms and to control the growth of any remaining tumor for as long as possible with the fewest possible side effects.

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