What Happens After Metastatic Brain Cancer Surgery?

Knowing what happens after metastatic brain cancer surgery can help you prepare mentally and physically for your recovery.

Knowing What to Expect

The idea of metastatic brain cancer treatment can be scary. That’s okay. Knowing what to expect after metastatic brain cancer surgery can help reduce some of the stress you may be feeling about the process. This will help you relax in both mind and body, rather than fretting over what happens following treatment. While your personal doctor will be able to give the best idea of what your recovery process will be like, understanding what happens after metastatic brain cancer surgery on a general level will help prepare you for that conversation.

Overview of Metastatic Brain Cancer

Metastatic brain cancer is the most common type of brain tumor in adults. One of the most important things to understand about this condition is that the tumor cells are not native to the brain. Instead, they have spread from a tumor elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs or breast. Treatment options for metastatic brain cancer depend on both the size and location of your tumor, the number of tumors present and the types of cell present. This is why it is important to work with a metastatic brain cancer specialist who can recommend an effective treatment for your specific tumor type.

Radiation Therapy for Metastatic Brain Cancer

Chances are radiation therapy is part of your treatment plan. It can be the primary treatment or it may occur after metastatic brain cancer surgery. Two options available in northern NJ are whole-brain radiation therapy and Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

Whole Brain Radiation Therapy

For many years, whole brain radiation therapy was the gold-standard treatment for metastatic brain cancer. Using this method, your entire brain is treated using low doses of radiation therapy five days a week for two to three weeks. This shrinks your tumor, but it can also damage healthy tissues.

During and after your whole-brain radiation therapy, you can expect to be tired. Patients can experience nausea and headaches. Many will have hair loss and potential skin irritation. These side effects occur because the radiation treatment affects healthy tissues as well as your cancer.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Though it sounds like a surgical procedure, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is an advanced form of radiation therapy. Unlike whole-brain radiation, Gamma Knife radiosurgery uses nearly 200 individual beams of low-dose radiation to target your tumor directly, sparing healthy surrounding tissues. As a result, patients experience fewer unpleasant side effects and need fewer treatment sessions.

Some patients will only require a single Gamma Knife radiosurgery treatment. Others may need up to five, depending on the size, location and number of metastatic brain tumors. The procedure takes place in an outpatient setting and does not involve a hospital stay.

Following Gamma Knife radiosurgery, most patients are able to return to normal activities within a day or two. Some patients feel tired, and you may have headaches or nausea that can be treated with medicine. However, the side effects are milder and shorter-lasting than whole-brain radiation therapy.

Your Personal Treatment Plan and Recovery

Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of what happens after metastatic brain cancer surgery and the treatment options available in NJ, continue the discussion with your personal doctor. He or she is familiar with your treatment plan and individual health factors and can explain what to expect during your personal recovery time. Every patient is different. Speaking with your doctor will allow you to relate the information here to your particular situation. This can help you prepare your mind and body for your upcoming treatment, helping you rest easy when you need it most.

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