When you go to the doctor because you are having strange symptoms such as behavioral changes, extreme changes in appetite, and chronic headaches, nausea, or dizziness, you likely do not expect the outcome to be something as extreme as a brain tumor. However, though it is rare, these symptoms are caused by a type of brain tumor known as a medulloblastoma. Once you are diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, you will likely wonder what your treatment options are and how you should proceed to try to get your life back to normal.Get to know some of the possible treatments for your medulloblastoma so that you know what to expect going forward.
Surgery for Medulloblastomas
One of the primary ways that medulloblastomas are treated is through the surgical removal of as much of the tumor as possible. A neurosurgeon will perform a surgical procedure that is both exploratory so that the doctors can get a direct look at the tumor itself and see the full extent of the tumor's invasion into the brain and active in that the surgeon will perform a resection of the malignant tissue.
Oftentimes, following the initial surgical procedure, your neurosurgeon will have another set of brain scans performed (often an MRI) to look for any remaining portions of the tumor. Depending on how much of the tumor is left and where those cells are, the neurosurgeon may choose to perform a second surgery for further removal.
Chemotherapy and Radiation
Medulloblastomas are aggressive brain tumors. This means that the chances that they will regrow after surgery are relatively high. In order to help overcome this and to prevent and/or delay the recurrence of a medullablastoma, surgery is often paired with either chemotherapy or radiation treatment (and sometimes both).
Radiation therapy uses x-rays (or gamma rays) to target cancerous tumor cells in your body. The light energy is meant to break down and kill those tumor cells while allowing your healthy non-malignant cells to repair themselves and recover.
Radiation therapy can be administered by a doctor in the office in repeated sessions for a set period of time. The procedure does not hurt and is quick and easy. In some cases, radioactive pellets can be placed in order near the tumor during surgery. These pellets will release low levels of radiation over time to continue to fight tumor cell growth and regrowth.
Chemotherapy involves taking medications that are designed to kill cancer cells as well. Chemo drugs are not as targeted as radiation treatment and can also have more of an impact in the cells throughout the rest of the body.
These drugs can be administered during the same time period that a person is going through radiation therapy. Chemo can be administered intravenously through injections directly into the vein or orally in pill form depending on the drugs used and the dosage.
Now that you know the primary treatments for your medulloblastoma, you can get started in the process with an idea of what is to come. Keep in mind that there are also potentially effective treatments in development for brain tumors through clinical trials if these options do not work for you or you want to try a different approach. There are always options. So, get to your oncologist's office and get started in your treatments, or find more information online, such as at http://swfna.com.