Brain tumors are basically groups of abnormal cells which are found to grow in & around the brain. However, these tumors can directly destroy normal healthy brain cells & also indirectly damage normally healthy brain cells by crowding areas of brain & by causing pressure, swelling & inflammation of tissue within the skull. Brain tumors can either be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors or brain cancer rapidly grow so as to crowd or invade other areas of the brain. Benign or noncancerous brain tumors are usually found to be slow growing masses.
Categories of Brain Tumors
There are two main categories of brain tumors, primary & metastatic. Primary brain tumors are masses which have originated within the brain tissue. Metastatic brain tumors are formed when cancerous cells which were originated in other parts of the body broke free in order to travel to the brain. This is why, metastatic brain tumors almost always are malignant while primary brain tumors can be both, malignant or benign.
Classification of Brain Tumors
Classification of brain tumors is based upon whether the mass is benign or malignant, the location of the tumor, the type of brain tissue involved & other factors. Tumor cells are normally examined under a microscope in a laboratory in case they are determined to be malignant & to evaluate the extent of malignancy. Brain tumors are subsequently rated & graded based upon this analysis by the least to most malignant levels. Factors which influence the grade of a brain tumor include the pace of growth of these cancerous cells, the amount of blood supply to these cells, presence of dead cells (necrosis) inside the tumor, whether cells are confined to specific areas & similarity of cancer cells in comparison with normal cells.
Causes, Signs & Symptoms of Brain Tumors
Causes of primary brain tumors are still unknown but genetic factors & environment is found to influence the growth of some brain tumors. Moreover, early exposure to therapeutic irradiation in childhood is understood to be a contributing factor in some brain tumor patients. Signs & symptoms of brain tumors include hearing problems, loss of vision & memory, behavioral changes, seizures, vomiting, nausea & headaches. Treatment options for brain tumors, however, depend upon the size, location & type of brain tumor along with the overall health & preferences of the patient.
Common Treatment Options for Brain Tumors
- Brain Tumor Surgery: – Neurosurgeons will work so as to remove as much of brain tumor as it is possible in case it is located in an area of the brain which is accessible for operation. Brain tumors in some cases are small & easy for separation from surrounding tissue. This makes complete surgical removal of brain tumor quite possible. However, in other cases where brain tumors are located near sensitive areas or when they cannot be completely separated from surrounding tissue of the brain, surgery may not be possible since it would be risky. Doctors in such situations remove only as much of brain tumor as it is safe to do so. Even when brain tumors are partially removed, it can be immensely helpful in reducing signs & symptoms. Nevertheless, brain tumor surgery carries a certain amount of risks like bleeding & developing infections. Other risks involved in brain tumor surgery depend upon the part of the brain where the operation is to be performed. For example, there may be a risk of vision loss when brain tumor surgery is to be performed near nerves which connect to the eyes.
- Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors: – This type of brain tumor treatments uses high-energy beams like x-rays or protons for destroying tumor cells. Radiation therapy is delivered from a machine which is located outside the patient’s body & the process is known as external beam radiation. Brachytherapy is another radiation therapy procedure which is applied in rare brain tumor cases & involves placing & delivering radiation inside the body near the brain tumor. External beam radiation typically focuses on the area where the brain tumor is located, although it can also be applied to the entire brain & which is known as whole-brain radiation. Whole-brain radiation is normally utilized as treatment of secondary brain cancers which have spread to the brain from some other part of the body. Side effects caused due to radiation therapy usually depend upon the dose & type of radiation patients receive. However, most common side effects of radiation therapy during or immediately after application include headaches, scalp irritation & fatigue.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Tumors: – Stereotactic procedures like Gamma Knife radiosurgery is not surgery in the traditional sense, but it utilizes multiple beams of radiation in order to deliver highly precise & focused radiation treatment in order to kill small-sized brain tumor cells. Every beam of radiation individually as such is not powerful, but at the point where they meet & intersect each other at the brain tumor receives an extremely large dose of radiation which is capable of destroying brain tumor cells without causing any damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Stereotactic radiosurgery is typically performed in one treatment session as an outpatient procedure. Gamma Knife & LINAC (Linear Accelerator) are the most commonly available stereotactic radiosurgery procedures.
- Chemotherapy for Brain Tumors: – Chemotherapy for brain cancer utilizes specialized drugs in order to destroy tumor cells. These medications can either be taken orally or administered intravenously. Temozolomide (Temodar) is the most commonly used chemotherapy drug which is used in the treatment of brain tumors. There are many other chemotherapy drugs as well which are available but typically only used depending upon the type of brain cancer. Side effects of chemotherapy generally depend upon the dose & type of medications patients receive. Most common side effects of chemotherapy generally include nausea, vomiting & loss of hair.
- Targeted Therapy for Brain Tumors: – Targeted therapy treatments also involve medications which focus on specific abnormalities that are present within cancerous cells. Most commonly they block these abnormalities in order to destroy these cancerous cells. Bevacizumab (Avastin) is a targeted drug therapy medication which is utilized for treating brain cancer tumors known as glioblastoma. When administered intravenously, this drug stops the formation of new blood vessels & thereby destroys cancerous cells by cutting off the supply of blood to brain tumor cells. Everolimus (Afinitor) is another targeted therapy drug which is used in the treatment of benign brain tumors occurring among people with tuberous sclerosis genetic disorder. Everolimus works by blocking an enzyme in the human body which plays a key role in the growth of cancerous cells.
Rehabilitation Following Brain Tumor Treatment
Since brain tumors develop within parts of the brain controlling thinking, vision, speech & motor skills, need for rehabilitation is most often necessary & a part of the recovery process. For this reason, neurosurgeons refer patients to the following services & which can be very helpful.
- Speech Therapy – Also known as speech pathologists, these are specialists who can help brain tumor treatments patients having difficulty in speaking.
- Physical Therapy – This can be helpful to brain tumor treatment patients for regaining muscle strength & motor skills which have lost following surgery.
- Occupational Therapy – These therapists help patients in coming back to normal everyday activities including work following brain tumor surgery or other illnesses.
- Tutoring for School-Age Children – These medical professionals help children cope with changes in thinking & memory which has occurred due to the brain tumor treatments procedure.
Although little research has been conducted on curing capacity of complimentary & alternative medicine brain tumor treatments, they may, however, prove useful in coping with signs & symptoms of both brain tumors & side effects of associated treatments. Some of the common complementary treatments which are available to brain tumor patients include acupuncture, hypnosis, relaxation exercises, music therapy & meditation. However, it is important that the patient should talk to the doctor first before trying these options.
Undergo Affordable Brain Tumor Treatments with IndianMedTrip
Based in South Asia, IndianMedTrip is associated with top neurosurgeons & the best accredited multispecialty hospital facilities in the subcontinent so as to provide the most competitive treatment packages to overseas patients seeking healthcare in foreign countries. The cost of Neurosurgery & particularly brain tumor treatments with IndianMedTrip is in fact just a fraction of what patients may end up paying in developed countries. Moreover, seamless services offered by IndianMedTrip cover every detailed aspect of your medical journey in order to give you a totally hassle-free healthcare experience.
Treatment Package – Brain Tumor Treatments
Hospital Stay – 2 to 5 days
Costs – $6,500 to $8,500 USD