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Treatments for Brain Tumors

The goal of treatment is to reduce the size of the tumor or remove as much of it as possible, while preserving brain tissue and function. Doing so may help improve symptoms and prevent further brain tissue damage. Additional treatment may help to prevent the spread or recurrence of cancerous tumors. The treatment plan will often include a combination of approaches based on the characteristics of the tumor, patient's age, general health, and prognosis. Comfort measures can be provided if the brain tumor is in advanced stages.

If the tumor is not causing symptoms, the doctor may advise watchful waiting. This means you and the doctor will monitor the tumor for growth or appearance of symptoms.

The healthcare team will be made up of a variety of health professionals including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for best outcomes possible.

Brain tumor treatment includes:

SurgeryRadiation therapyChemotherapyLifestyle changesMedicationsOther treatments

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.

Revision Information

  • Adult brain tumors treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Updated February 13, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2015.

  • Astrocytoma and oligodentroglioma in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated May 13, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.

  • Brain and spinal cord tumors in adults. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2015.

  • Brain and spinal cord tumors in children. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2015.

  • Meningioma. EBSCO Plus DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 29, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2016.

  • Overview of intracranial tumors. Merck Professional Version website. Available at: Updated December 2012. Accessed August 17, 2015.