What is The Brain Tumor Treatment – Basic Information

Written By All Video Subscribers on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | 5:03 PM

What is The Brain Tumor Treatment – Basic Information

{SCA} Many people with brain tumors want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care.

They want to learn all they can about their disease and their treatment choices.

However, shock and stress after a diagnosis of a brain tumor can make it hard to think of everything to ask the doctor. It often helps to make a list of questions before an appointment.

To help remember what the doctor says, patients may take notes or ask whether they may use a tape recorder. Some also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor – to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.

The doctor may refer the patient to a specialist, or the patient may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat brain tumors include neurosurgeons, neurooncologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists.

The patient may be referred to other health care professionals who work together as a team. The medical team may include a nurse, dietitian, mental health counselor, social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist.

Children may need tutors to help with schoolwork. (The section on “Rehabilitation” has more information about therapists and tutors.)

Getting a second opinion

Before starting treatment, the patient might want a second opinion about the diagnosis and the treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion; others may cover a second opinion if the patient or doctor requests it.

There are a number of ways to find a doctor for a second opinion:

    * The patient’s doctor may refer the patient to one or more specialists. At cancer centers, several specialists often work together as a team.

    * The Cancer Information Service, at 1-800-4-CANCER, can tell callers about nearby treatment centers.

    * A person with a brain tumor can request a consultation with a team of specialists in NCI’s Neuro-Oncology Branch of the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland (301-402-6298).

    * A local or state medical society, a nearby hospital, or a medical school can usually provide the names of specialists.

    * The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has a list of doctors who have met certain education and training requirements and have passed specialty examinations. The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists lists doctors’ names along with their specialty and their educational background. The directory is available in most public libraries.

Preparing for Treatment

The doctor can describe treatment choices and discuss the results expected with each treatment option. The doctor and patient can work together to develop a treatment plan that fits the patient’s needs.

Treatment depends on a number of factors, including the type, location, size, and grade of the tumor. For some types of brain cancer, the doctor also needs to know whether cancer cells were found in the cerebrospinal fluid.

These are some questions a person may want to ask the doctor before treatment begins:

    * What type of brain tumor do I have?

    * Is it benign or malignant?

    * What is the grade of the tumor?

    * What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend for me? Why?

    * What are the benefits of each kind of treatment?

    * What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment?

    * What is the treatment likely to cost?

    * How will treatment affect my normal activities?

    * Would a clinical trial (research study) be appropriate for me? Can you help me find one?

People do not need to ask all of their questions or understand all of the answers at one time. They will have other chances to ask the doctor to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more information.
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Information About Rehabilitation After Treatment for Brain Tumors

Information About Rehabilitation After Treatment for Brain Tumors

Rehabilitation can be a very important part of the treatment plan. The goals of rehabilitation depend on the person’s needs and how the tumor has affected daily activities. The health care team makes every effort to help the patient return to normal activities as soon as possible. Several types of therapists can help:

    * Physical therapists – Brain tumors and their treatment may cause paralysis. They may also cause weakness and problems with balance. Physical therapists help patients regain strength and balance.

    * Speech therapists – Speech therapists help patients who have trouble speaking, expressing thoughts, or swallowing.

    * Occupational therapists – Occupational therapists help patients learn to manage activities of daily living, such as eating, using the toilet, bathing, and dressing.

Children with brain tumors may have special needs. Sometimes children have tutors in the hospital or at home. Children who have problems learning or remembering what they learn may need tutors or special classes when they return to school.

What happens after treatment for brain tumors?

Regular followup is very important after treatment for a brain tumor. The doctor checks closely to make sure that the tumor has not returned. Checkups may include careful physical and neurologic exams. From time to time, the patient may have MRI or CT scans. If the patient has a shunt, the doctor checks to see that it is working well. The doctor can explain the followup plan – how often the patient must visit the doctor and what tests will be needed.

What support is available to patients with brain tumors?

Living with a serious disease such as a brain tumor is not easy. Some people find they need help coping with the emotional and practical aspects of their disease. Support groups can help. In these groups, patients or their family members get together to share what they have learned about coping with the disease and the effects of treatment. Patients may want to talk with a member of their health care team about finding a support group. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet.

People living with a brain tumor may worry about caring for their families, keeping their jobs, or continuing daily activities. Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are also common. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team can answer questions about treatment, working, or other activities. Meeting with a social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful to those who want to talk about their feelings or discuss their concerns. Often, a social worker can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, or emotional support.

The Cancer Information Service can provide information to help patients and their families locate programs, services, and publications.

The promise of cancer research

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials. These are research studies in which people take part voluntarily. Studies include new ways to treat brain tumors. Research has already led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches.

Patients who join these studies have the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. They also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers take very careful steps to protect their patients.

Researchers are testing new anticancer drugs, doses, and treatment schedules. They are working with various drugs and drug combinations, as well as combinations of drugs and radiation therapy. They also are testing new methods and schedules of radiation therapy.
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What is the Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Tumor(Gliomas)

What is the Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Tumor(Gliomas)

{SCA} The symptoms of brain tumors depend on tumor size, type, and location. Symptoms may be caused when a tumor presses on a nerve or damages a certain area of the brain. They also may be caused when the brain swells or fluid builds up within the skull.

    * These are the most common symptoms of brain tumors:

    * Headaches (usually worse in the morning)

    * Nausea or vomiting

    * Changes in speech, vision, or hearing

    * Problems balancing or walking

    * Changes in mood, personality, or ability to concentrate

    * Problems with memory

    * Muscle jerking or twitching (seizures or convulsions)

    * Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs

These symptoms are not sure signs of a brain tumor. Other conditions also could cause these problems. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.

How are brain tumors diagnosed?

If a person has symptoms that suggest a brain tumor, the doctor may perform one or more of the following procedures:

    * Physical exam – The doctor checks general signs of health.

    * Neurologic exam – The doctor checks for alertness, muscle strength, coordination, reflexes, and response to pain. The doctor also examines the eyes to look for swelling caused by a tumor pressing on the nerve that connects the eye and brain.

    * CT scan – An x-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of the head. The patient may receive an injection of a special dye so the brain shows up clearly in the pictures. The pictures can show tumors in the brain.

    * MRI – A powerful magnet linked to a computer makes detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed. Sometimes a special dye is injected to help show differences in the tissues of the brain. The pictures can show a tumor or other problem in the brain.

The doctor may ask for other tests:

    * Angiogram - Dye injected into the bloodstream flows into the blood vessels in the brain to make them show up on an x-ray. If a tumor is present, the doctor may be able to see it on the x-ray.

    * Skull x-ray – Some types of brain tumors cause calcium deposits in the brain or changes in the bones of the skull. With an x-ray, the doctor can check for these changes.

    * Spinal tap – The doctor may remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that fills the spaces in and around the brain and spinal cord). This procedure is performed with local anesthesia. The doctor uses a long, thin needle to remove fluid from the spinal column. A spinal tap takes about 30 minutes. The patient must lie flat for several hours afterward to keep from getting a headache. A laboratory checks the fluid for cancer cells or other signs of problems.

    * Myelogram – This is an x-ray of the spine. A spinal tap is performed to inject a special dye into the cerebrospinal fluid. The patient is tilted to allow the dye to mix with the fluid. This test helps the doctor detect a tumor in the spinal cord.

    * Biopsy – The removal of tissue to look for tumor cells is called a biopsy. A pathologist looks at the cells under a microscope to check for abnormal cells. A biopsy can show cancer, tissue changes that may lead to cancer, and other conditions. A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose a brain tumor.

    * Surgeons can obtain tissue to look for tumor cells in three ways:
          o Needle biopsy - The surgeon makes a small incision in the scalp and drills a small hole into the skull. This is called a burr hole. The doctor passes a needle through the burr hole and removes a sample of tissue from the brain tumor.
          o Stereotactic biopsy - An imaging device, such as CT or MRI, guides the needle through the burr hole to the location of the tumor. The surgeon withdraws a sample of tissue with the needle.
          o Biopsy at the same time as treatment - Sometimes the surgeon takes a tissue sample when the patient has surgery to remove the tumor.

Sometimes a biopsy is not possible. If the tumor is in the brain stem or certain other areas, the surgeon may not be able to remove tissue from the tumor without damaging normal brain tissue. The doctor uses MRI, CT, or other imaging tests instead.

A person who needs a biopsy may want to ask the doctor the following questions:

    * Why do I need a biopsy? How will the biopsy affect my treatment plan?

    * What kind of biopsy will I have?

    * How long will it take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt?

    * What are the chances of infection or bleeding after the biopsy? Are there any other risks?

    * How soon will I know the results?

    * If I do have a brain tumor, who will talk to me about treatment? When?
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What is The Brain Tumor Causes – Brain Tumors That Begin in The Brain

What is The Brain Tumor Causes – Brain Tumors That Begin in The Brain

{SCA} There is no known cause of brain cancer. Extensive research has been conducted to pinpoint a cause to help prevent the cancer from occurring.

Although there has not been very much conclusive evidence leading to a cause of brain cancer, the one thing that doctors do know is that brain cancer is not contagious and it does not occur due to head injury.

There are known instances where cancer has spread to the brain from other parts of the body.(Lung cancer,Breast cancer,Liver cancer and so on.)

Brain cancer can occur at any age. Studies have shown that two major age groups are affected. From ages 3 to 12 and 40 to 70 are the age groups when brain cancer is formed.

Since researchers have been able to gather this data, it has led to the discovery of some risk factors. Workers in certain industries are at a higher risk for brain cancer than workers in other industries. These include, rubber manufacturing, drug manufacturing, and oil refining.

Since brain cancer often occurs with members of the same family, heredity is believed to be another cause of brain cancer.

There are many different kinds of cells in the brain, each with a different function. Sometimes the cells inside the brain begin to grow uncontrollably leading to a tumor.

A tumor in the brain may or may not be malignant.If benign a tumor stays where it starts, although it can grow very large and put pressure on crucial areas.

In the case of a malignant brain tumor however this has the ability to spread and brain cancer occurs. Brain cancer is dangerous and life-threatening as the cancerous cells can interrupt vital brain functions.

When brain cancer occurs, the cells continue to grow at a rapid pace. The cells and tissue around these cancerous cells become crowded out and invaded.

Symptoms of brain cancer include headaches that are worse in the morning, changes in personality, abnormal eye movements, and weakness in the arms and legs. Seizures, nausea, and drowsiness are other symptoms of brain cancer.

Surgery is the treatment of choice for primary brain tumors radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the treatments that are used when cancer has spread to the brain. The doctor will use one or a combination of these treatments depending on the needs of the patient.
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