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What are some treatment options for brain tumors?

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Quick Answer

Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy treat brain tumors, states WebMD. More than one treatment is often used to treat the tumor, and the treatments depend on its size and type, tumor location, additional medical problems and the age of the patient. Clinical trials offer new treatments for willing patients.

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Full Answer

Surgery is the most common treatment for brain tumors, according to WebMD. The entire tumor is removed during surgery if possible, or a sample of the tumor is taken to determine its type. A steroid drug to relieve swelling, a plastic tube to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid, and an anti-convulsant drug to prevent seizures may be given before surgery.

Radiation therapy uses rays to terminate tumor cells, and is often used for those who cannot have surgery, explains WebMD. Radiation therapy is also used after surgery to remove any remaining tumor cells. Radiation is given in the form of external radiation, internal or implant radiation, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Chemotherapy uses a single or combination of drugs taken orally or intravenously to destroy tumor cells, states WebMD. Chemotherapy is typically given in a cycle of short intensive treatments followed by a recovery period with a break in treatment to determine the response. Side effects of chemotherapy include loss of appetite, nausea and mouth sores.

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