- A neurological exam includes examining vision, hearing, balance, strength, coordination and reflexes.
- Imaging tests. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used for diagnose the tumor. Some cases require a dye material to inject intravenously during an MRI. Specialized MRI scan components consist of functional MRI, perfusion MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. These will help evaluate the tumor and plan the right treatment. Computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are recommended for certain cases.
- Biopsy or testing of an abnormal tissue sample.Biopsy can be performed during the surgery, which is done to remove the brain tumor.
A stereotactic needle biopsy could be carried out for brain tumors that are located in the areas that are hard to reach or are very sensitive in the brain. A small hole will be drilled into the skull. Then a thin needle is inserted through the hole. Tissue will be removed with the help of a needle. This process is often times carried out by CT or MRI guided scanning.
The sample collection from the biopsy will be examined with a microscope to rule out if it’s cancerous or benign as well as treatment needed.
The type, size and the location of the tumor are factors that will determine the treatment options.
Surgical removal of the brain tumor will be carried out only if the tumor is existing in a place that is accessible for a safe operation.
When some brain tumors are small, can easily be be detached from the brain tissues surrounding. This makes it possible to completely remove the tumor. For tumors that are existing near the sensitive parts of the brain, they are unable to be separated from tissues around it, surgery becomes a risky and unsafe procedure. The doctor will remove the tumor as much as it is safe. A removal of a partial brain tumor can diminish the symptoms and signs.
Infections and bleeding may appear when surgery of brain tumor is carried out. Other risk factors vary on the location of the tumor. For instance, when removing a tumor that is located near the nerves that are connected to the eyes, a risk of vision loss arises.
Radiation therapy is the utilization of high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons that can kill the tumor cells. Radiation therapy is often given by a machine outside of the body called external beam radiation. It can target only on the position where the tumor is existing, while it can also be implemented to the entire brain. In rare occasion, that radiation may be placed inside the body near the brain tumor.
The common side effects of radiation therapy that often occur during or right after the treatment are fatigue, headaches, loss of memory, irritations in the scalp and hair fall.
Stereotactic radiosurgery the use of numerous beams of radiation to provide a type of radiation that has closely targets in killing the tumor cells located in a small area. Individual beam of radiation is not very powerful, however when all the beams are put together to meet at the brain tumor, it provides an extensive dose of radiation that can kill the tumor cells.
Radiosurgery is often carried out in one session and patients can go home after the treatment on the same day.
Chemotherapy is used to kill tumor cells with the help of certain medications. They are available in oral form and intravenous injection. The type of medicine that is given depending on the type of cancer. The side effects of chemotherapy vary on the kinds and dosage of the drugs. The general side effects are nausea, vomiting and loss of hair.
Undergoing the tests of the brain tumor cells can evaluate the potential results of chemotherapy it will have on the patient.
Targeted drug therapy
Targeted therapy is designed to focus on particular abnormalities that present in the cancer cells. Targeted therapy can kill cancer cells by hindering these abnormalities.
The tumor cells can be tested before the treatment is given, to discover if targeted therapy would be an effective treatment option for the certain type of brain tumor.
As it is normal for brain tumors to arise in areas of the brain that control motor skills, speech, vision and thinking, undergoing rehabilitation may become an essential step to recovery. The doctor will recommend rehabilitation program based on the needs of each patient.
- Physical therapy facilitates patients to regain motor skills or muscle strengths that they have lost.
- Occupational therapy helps patients to return to their normal everyday lives and carry on with their daily activities.
- Speech therapy is provided by speech pathologists to help patients who have difficulties speaking.
- Tutoring for school-age children will allow young patients to manage changes of their memory and thinking process.