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Treatment for Brain Cancer

There are many different types of treatment for brain cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

Treatment for brain tumours generally includes a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, but will depend on the stage of your cancer and treatment preference. 1

  • Surgery– in some cases surgery can remove all (total resection) or some (partial resection or biopsy) of the tumour to help either manage symptoms or remove the cancer completely.3
  • Chemotherapy– are specific drugs that destroy cancer cells (although they can also destroy healthy cells which can lead to side-effects).4 Using chemotherapy drugs to treat brain cancer can be difficult due to the blood brain barrier, which is an ‘inbuilt’ protection system stopping harmful substances in the blood, from reaching the brain.4
  • Radiation therapy– uses targeted radiation to destroy cancer cells. It is often given once a day, every day for a set number of weeks.5
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) – is a specific type of targeted radiotherapy that can be used to treat small brain tumours and those tumours that can’t be treated with surgery or that have metastasised (tumours that have spread to the brain from other areas of the body). It involves a special type of high-dose radiotherapy that target affected areas in the brain whilst avoiding healthy brain tissue.5
  • Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT) – can be used to treat both cancerous and benign tumours. It involves a longer course of highly targeted radiotherapy treatment.5

Medications including steroids and anti-seizure drugs may also be given along with the above treatments to help relieve symptoms.2


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Brain cancer. (n.d). SingHealth. Retrieved on 4 June 2019 from
  2. Brain cancer treatment. (2018). Cancer Council. Retrieved on 20thFebruary 2019 from
  3. Surgery for brain cancer (2018). Cancer Council. Retrieved on 20thFebruary 2019 from
  4. Chemotherapy for brain cancer (2018). Cancer Council. Retrieved on 20thFebruary 2019 from
  5. Radiation therapy for brain cancer (2018). Cancer Council. Retrieved on 20thFebruary 2019 from

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