BrainTumors.com - Brain Tumor and Brain Cancer Info
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain or skull. More than 600,000 people in the United States are currently living with a brain tumor, and each day around 500 people will receive a diagnosis of having a brain tumor. Around half of all brain tumors are cancerous (malignant), the rest are benign. There are more than 120 types of brain tumors, but the most common types are Meningiomas (34%), Gliomas (30%), and Glioblastomas (17%). Treatments for brain tumors include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Some newer brain cancer treatments that you may want to ask your doctor about include:
1. Gamma Knife - Delivers a focused dose of radiation precisely to its target by aiming high-energy rays at the tumor from many angles. There is much less risk than traditional brain surgery since it does not damage the surrounding brain tissue, and only one session (about an hour long) is needed. Because it is non-invasive, there is no risk of infections or bleeding, and no need for general anesthesia.
2. CyberKnife - A robotic system used to treat brain tumors using a focused dose of radiation. Like Gamma Knife, this is a non-invasive alternative to surgery to treat both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors. Unlike Gamma Knife, the patient does not need rigid immobilization (it uses a face mask instead of a scalp fixed halo), since the movement of the robotic arm compensates for the patient's movement, so it is more comfortable.
3. Intraoperative Brain Mapping (also known as iMRI)- A surgery performed while the patient is awake, allowing neurosurgeons to remove tumors that would otherwise be inoperable because they are too close to critical parts of the brain (vision, language, and body movements). During surgery, the neurosurgeon will stimulate the area around the tumor with small electrodes to locate the brain areas that need to be avoided.
4. Targeted Therapy - Drugs are used to attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. For example, anti-angiogenesis inhibitors are focused on stopping the process of making new blood vessels, starving the tumor because a tumor needs blood vessels to deliver nutrients so it can grow and spread.
5. Keyhole Brain Surgery - A minimally-invasive microcraniotomy surgery that hides the incision in places such as the eyebrow or behind the ear, leading to less pain and scarring. It uses a fiberoptic lens to visualize tumors and then biopsy or remove them.
6. Advanced Imaging Techniques - In addition to the standard MRI machine that most hospitals use to diagnose a tumor, there are several new technologies available to map the brain in more detail, allowing neurosurgeons to better remove the tumor and reduce the injury to other parts of the brain during surgery. These cutting edge brain mapping technoglies include Functional MRI (fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), MRI Spectroscopy (MRS), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), 3D-CRT, and IMRT.
7. Clinical Trials - Studies designed by researchers to test the most promising new treatments on a group of volunteers with brain cancer.
8. Radiotherapy: A high dose of radiation is beamed at the precise area of the brain tumor, sparing the non-cancerous areas from damage. This is also know as Radiosurgery. In addition to Gamma Knife and Cyberknife listed at the top of this page, other such treatments include The Novalis Radiosurgery System, The Varian Trilogy Stereotactic System, Proton Beam Therapy, and Fractionated Stereotactic Radiation Therapy.
9. Alternative Cancer Treatments: There are many cancer treatments that people try which are not generally supported by the medical community, are not government approved, and are not supported by scientific studies. Some examples incldude a ketogenic diet, oxygen therapy, high RF frequency devices, and baking soda with honey.
Here's some more info that might interest you:
Cancer Facts - Statistics about cancer.
Below is a list of some famous people who have had brain tumors:
Note: The information provided on this website was not written by a doctor or cancer specialist, so in all cases you should consult your own doctor about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.