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The treatment chosen for a brain tumor patient depends on a wide range of factors, such as the tumor’s type, location and growth, as well as the patient’s age and overall health. As there are more than 120 types of tumors that can develop in the brain and central nervous system, treatment plans can vary greatly from patient to patient.

Types of treatment used for brain tumors

Several types of treatment may be used to treat a brain tumor. Treatment options include:

  • Chemotherapy – Some chemotherapy medications can be delivered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid to treat a brain tumor.
  • Immunotherapy – This promising approach helps to equip the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. 
  • Radiation therapy – High-energy rays are delivered to the tumor while sparing gray matter.
  • Surgery – Neurosurgeons remove as much of the tumor as possible.
  • Targeted therapy – Medications target specific genes or proteins that trigger tumor growth.

Common treatment approaches

Again, it is important to keep in mind that brain tumor treatment is individualized and can vary greatly. However, in many cases, the general goal of treatment is to remove as much of the tumor as possible through surgical resection; destroy any cancerous cells with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other treatments; and reduce symptoms and improve quality of life with supportive care and other therapies.

Treating malignant vs. benign brain tumors

Not all brain tumors are malignant (cancerous) – some brain tumors are benign (noncancerous). Most benign brain tumors are slow growing and don’t invade surrounding tissue or spread to other areas. A benign tumor can still be life-threatening, however, if it is compressing brain tissue or other structures in the skull like ventricles and nerves.

Treatment for a benign brain tumor is similar to that of a malignant tumor. It is less common, however, for chemotherapy to be used for a benign tumor. Surgical resection and radiation therapy are typical treatments for benign tumors.

Moffitt’s approach to brain tumor treatment

Moffitt’s Neuro-Oncology Program takes a comprehensive approach to brain tumor treatment. Each patient’s case is reviewed by our multispecialty team, which comprises physicians in all areas of care in a single, convenient location. The team collaborates to develop individualized treatment plans for every patient. And, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt is at the forefront of research and houses a robust clinical trials program, making the most innovative therapies available to our patients as soon as possible.

For more information about brain tumor treatment or to make an appointment to consult with our team at Moffitt Cancer Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.