Brain cancer is a disease that affects the tissue inside your brain. When cells begin to develop in an abnormal mass, this is referred to as a brain tumor. There are different types of brain cancer that are classified based on the location of brain tumors and where the brain tumors originated. If they develop exclusively inside the brain, these are known as primary tumors. If the cancer began in another part of the body and has spread to the brain, this is called a secondary tumor.
Treatment for brain cancer will be determined based on the type, severity, and location of your brain tumor. When possible, surgery is used to remove the tumor. However, that is not always an option. Here is a look at some brain cancer treatments doctors try when surgery isn't possible.
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by using high-energy X-rays. The treatment can be focused on the part of your brain where the tumor is located or it can include your entire brain. It is more common for whole-brain radiation to be used if the cancer has spread from another part of the body.
The most common chemotherapy drug for brain tumors is called temozolomide (Temodar), and it is taken as a pill. However, other chemotherapy drugs may be injected intravenously. Because chemotherapy destroys both cancerous and healthy cells, there are many undesirable side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.
Targeted Drug Therapy
Unlike chemotherapy, this type of treatment works to destroy only the cancer by targeting the specific abnormality that is present in the malignant cells. One common targeted therapy drug is called bevacizumab (Avastin), which is given intravenously and cuts off the blood supply to a tumor by stopping the formation of new blood vessels.
Although there are no alternative medicines that have been proven to cure cancer, there are many complementary treatments that can help you to cope with your brain tumor and the side effects of treatment. Some common alternative medicine options include:
- Music therapy
- Relaxation exercises