Are Alternative Remedies Effective For Treating A Brain Tumor
A balanced approach to tumor treatment is typically best, as such a plan incorporates medical supervision with effective alternative remedies. There are a number of alternative treatment options and natural cures that are effective for reducing the size of a brain tumor as well as treating the symptoms of brain cancer. Acupuncture, detoxification, and nutritional support are among the most effective natural remedies.
The Two Faces Of Vitamin C
In the quantities that a healthful diet provides, vitamin C is an , scavenging highly reactive free radicals in tissues.
Injecting the vitamin directly into the bloodstream, however, leads to high tissue concentrations, at which it becomes a pro-oxidant, triggering the formation of free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide.
In a cancer cell, free radicals can damage large molecules, including proteins, lipids, and DNA, leading to cell death.
Some research suggests that an aggressive form of cancer that has mutations in a gene called is vulnerable to free radical damage from high doses of vitamin C, although the results have been mixed.
KRAS-mutant cancers are resistant to most other cancer therapies, and people with these cancers have a lower survival rate. Scientists that these mutations occur in approximately one-quarter of all human cancers and about 40% of all colorectal cancers.
Combining vitamin C with chemotherapy seems to yield the best results in KRAS-mutant cancers. However, this treatment harms healthy and cancerous tissue alike, which can cause severe adverse effects.
Scientists from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan, Italy, set out to discover whether a special diet that mimics the effects of fasting could be an alternative option.
Scientists know that fasting makes cancer cells more vulnerable to treatment, but it can be very challenging for people to do when they are already in a weakened condition.
Treatment Of Benign Tumors
In many cases, benign tumors need no treatment. Doctors may simply use “watchful waiting” to make sure they cause no problems. But treatment may be needed if symptoms are a problem. Surgery is a common type of treatment for benign tumors. The goal is to remove the tumor without damaging surrounding tissues. Other types of treatment may include medication or radiation.
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How Is A Diagnosis Made
First, the doctor will obtain your personal and family medical history and perform a complete physical examination. In addition to checking your general health, the doctor performs a neurological exam to check mental status and memory, cranial nerve function , muscle strength, coordination, reflexes, and response to pain. Additional tests may include:
- Audiometry, a hearing test performed by an audiologist, detects hearing loss due to tumors near the cochlear nerve .
- An endocrine evaluation measures hormone levels in your blood or urine to detect abnormal levels caused by pituitary tumors .
- A visual field acuity test is performed by a neuro-ophthalmologist to detect vision loss and missing areas in your field of view.
- A lumbar puncture may be performed to examine cerebrospinal fluid for tumor cells, proteins, infection, and blood.
Biomarkers or genetic mutations found in the tumor may help determine prognosis. These include: IDH1, IDH2, MGMT, and 1p/19q co-deletion.
What Are My Treatment Options
A variety of therapies are used to treat brain tumors. The type of treatment recommended depends on the size and type of the tumor, its growth rate, brain location, and the general health of the patient. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted biological agents, or a combination of these. Surgical resection is generally the first treatment recommendation to reduce pressure in the brain rapidly. This website focuses on radiation therapy for brain tumors.
In the past two decades, researchers have developed new techniques of delivering radiation that target the brain tumor while protecting nearby healthy tissues. These treatments include brachytherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy and radiosurgery.
Radiation therapy may be advised for tumors that are sensitive to this treatment. Conventional radiation therapy uses external beams of x-rays, gammarays or protons aimed at the tumor to kill cancer cells and shrink brain tumors. The therapy is usually given over a period of several weeks. Whole brain radiation therapy is an option in the case of multiple tumors or tumors that cannot be easily targeted with focal treatment.
Types of radiation therapy include:
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What Happens When Cancer Spreads To The Brain
Cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor and travel to the brain, usually through the bloodstream. They commonly go to the part of the brain called the cerebral hemispheres or to the cerebellum, where they form a mass.
Some metastatic brain tumors appear many years after the primary cancer. Others metastasize so quickly that they are identified before the primary cancer.
When the cancer cells reach the brain and form a tumor, it may lead to a variety of symptoms that can be shared by nonmetastatic brain tumors as well.
Is There A Treatment For Brain Tumors Involving Scorpion Venom
My research has not dealt with this issue, but I am aware of some interesting work by labs both in the U.S. and in France who have identified a chemical in scorpion venom which appears to have selective toxicity for brain tumor cells based on its ability to block molecules moving in and out of these malignant cells. To the best of my knowledge, these studies are very preliminary, but, given the dismal outlooks for many of our malignant brain tumor patients, we encourage all efforts in this regard.
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What Is A Brain Tumor
A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. The anatomy of the brain is very complex, with different parts responsible for different nervous system functions. Brain tumors can develop in any part of the brain or skull, including its protective lining, the underside of the brain , the brainstem, the sinuses and the nasal cavity, and many other areas. There are more than 120 different types of tumors that can develop in the brain, depending on what tissue they arise from.
Questions To Ask Before Treatment
The following questions provide a starting point for what you may want to ask your healthcare professional.
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What Is A Brain Tumour
The cells in our body grow, divide and multiply to help with our bodys natural processes, such as damage repair, and to replace old cells. But, sometimes mistakes can be made during cell growth and division. and abnormal cells are formed.
Usually, the bodys natural defence mechanisms destroy these abnormal cells, but occasionally the abnormal cells grow, multiply and form a lump of cells. This is called a tumour. When this happens in the brain, a primary brain tumour is formed.
Brain tumours can be:
- primary brain tumours, that start growing within the brain
- secondary brain tumours, that start growing somewhere else in the body and then spread to the brain. These are also known as metastases.
Brain tumours are also graded from 1-4 according to how fast they grow and how likely they are to spread within the brain. Tumours graded 1 or 2 are called low grade tumours and are non-cancerous. Tumours graded 3 or 4 are called high grade tumours and are cancerous.
What treatment do people with a similar diagnosis have first?
If youve just been diagnosed with brain cancer and are about to have treatment, you may want to see what other peoples first treatment was. Use the First Treatment insight in BRIAN, which you can personalise to make it relevant to you.
BRIAN is our trusted online app where you can track your experience, compare it with others whove been there and get the knowledge you need to make informed decisions.
Memory Loss And Confusion
Memory problems can be due to a tumor in the frontal or temporal lobe. A tumor in the frontal or parietal lobe can also affect reasoning and decision-making. For example, you may find that:
- Its hard to concentrate, and youre easily distracted.
- Youre often confused about simple matters.
- You cant multitask and have trouble planning anything.
- You have short-term memory issues.
This can happen with a brain tumor at any stage. It can also be a side effect of chemotherapy, radiation, or other cancer treatments. These problems can be exacerbated by fatigue.
Mild cognitive problems can happen for a variety of reasons other than a brain tumor. They can be the result of vitamin deficiencies, medications, or emotional disorders, among other things.
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How Are Primary Brain Tumors Staged
Primary brain tumors do not have a classic staging system the way most other cancers do. This is because the size of a brain tumor is less important than its location and the type of brain cell that makes it up. When a pathologist looks at brain tumors under a microscope, he/she can get a sense of how aggressive the tumor is by the way the cells look, and based on this, assign the tumor a grade. The most common classification system is the World Health Organization system, which classifies CNS tumors according to histology as well as tumor grade. The WHO numerical grade represents the overall biologic potential for malignancy from I to IV .
Detailed Grading System from the World Health Organization is as follows:
- Almost normal appearance under a microscope.
- Can recur as a higher-grade tumor.
- Abnormal appearance under a microscope.
- Invasions of adjacent normal tissue.
- Tumor tends to recur as a higher grade.
- Abnormal cells which reproduce rapidly.
- Very abnormal appearance under a microscope.
- Form new blood vessels to maintain growth.
- Areas of necrotic tumor in the middle of the tumor.
Gliomas classified according to their WHO grading:
- Low-grade astrocytomas include pilocytic astrocytomas and diffuse astrocytomas .
- A grade III astrocytoma is called anaplastic astrocytoma.
- A grade IV astrocytoma is a glioblastoma, also called glioblastoma multiforme or GBM.
Other brain tumors include:
Why Do They Grow So Large
Plexiform tumors often form early in life, or they are already there at birth. They start out as a soft lump under the skin. The tumors keep growing as the child gets older, although they usually grow slowly. Fast growth can be a sign that the tumor has turned into cancer.
Over time, plexiform neurofibromas can become so large that they press on and damage the bones, skin, muscles, and organs around them. That damage can cause pain, along with more serious problems, such as hearing loss, high blood pressure, and trouble moving.
An injury can make the tumor grow faster, too. The neurofibroma may suddenly swell up if the injury damages the blood vessels around it.
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What Is The Treatment For Brain Tumors
Every person we see and every tumor we treat is a little different. Potential options for brain tumor treatment include surgery, laser therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We also evaluate everyone we see for participation in clinical trials, which may test immunotherapy and other new treatment approaches.
Treatment options depend on:
- Need to balance treatment with protection of brain function
What Happens During Radiation Therapy
For conventional radiation therapy, your initial visit with the radiation oncologist is called a consultation. During this visit, the physician will review the history of your illness and perform a physical examination. Consultations with other members of your treatment team may also take place at this time.
After you and your physician have decided on a course of treatment, you will begin the first phasetreatment planning. During this planning phase of your treatment, a radiation oncologista physician who specializes in radiation therapywill simulate your radiation therapy treatment using either conventional radiographs or a computed tomography scan. In most cases, an MRI scan is required. These radiographic exams are used to plan the type and direction of radiation beams used to treat the cancer.
You will be asked to lie still on the treatment table during simulation, although no radiation therapy will be given at that point. An immobilization mask will usually be made at this time to hold your head in the same position. Typically, treatment begins one to two weeks after your treatment planning session. There is significant medical physics involvement in the planning and verification of the plan before it is actually delivered to the patient.
For more information about specific radiation therapy procedures and equipment, visit the following pages:
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How Do You Decide Which Metastatic Brain Cancer Treatment Is Right For You
Your neurosurgeon will discuss the most appropriate treatment approach with you by considering these and other factors:
- The type of primary cancer, your response to treatment and current status
- The location and number of metastatic tumors within the brain or spine
- Your general health and preferences regarding potential treatment options
- Your current symptoms
Along with benefits, doctors also consider the potential risks and side effects of any treatment. Many patients are worried about the effects of radiation. Others hesitate about the idea of surgery. Tell your doctor about your concerns they are important to consider.
Chemotherapy For Metastatic Brain Tumors
Because traditional chemotherapy cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, newer treatments called targeted therapy are used as the primary type of chemotherapy for treating metastatic brain tumors.
These drugs identify and attack cancer cells with minimal harm to normal cells while preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapy can be administered after surgery or in conjunction with radiation therapy to destroy remaining cancer cells.
Targeted therapies used to treat metastatic brain tumors include:
- Trastuzumab for breast cancer that has spread to the brain
- Erlotinib for the most common type of lung cancer that has spread to the brain
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What About Radiation And Chemotherapy For Meningiomas
Radiation therapy can stop tumor growth, but its usually not a first-line treatment since it only works in about half of patients with meningiomas and the therapy can make future surgery more difficult.
Sometimes, a neurosurgeon will use radiation on small tumor remnants. It can also be an option for a patient who is too sick to have surgery. Most meningiomas do not respond to chemotherapy.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from a brain tumor is not always possible. If the tumor cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, an advanced brain tumor is difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have an advanced brain tumor and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
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Types Of Primary Brain Tumors
There are many types of primary brain tumors. Some cannot be assigned an exact type because the tumors location makes it too difficult to remove for full testing.
Descriptions of more common brain tumor types in adults are listed below, divided into glioma and non-glioma tumor types. Learn about brain tumors in children in a different guide on this same website.
What Are The Symptoms
Tumors can affect the brain by destroying normal tissue, compressing normal tissue, or increasing intracranial pressure. Symptoms vary depending on the tumorâs type, size, and location in the brain . General symptoms include:
- headaches that tend to worsen in the morning
- speech problems
- vision problems, abnormal eye movements
- weakness on one side of the body
- increased intracranial pressure, which causes drowsiness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, sluggish responses
Specific symptoms include:
What Are Brain Tumors
A tumor in the brain isnt like tumors in other parts of your body. It has limited room for growth because of the skull. This means that a growing tumor can squeeze vital parts of the brain and lead to serious health problems. Learning about the possible symptoms of brain tumors can help you know when to tell a doctor about them.