There are multiple brain metastases treatment options available to patients in New Jersey. Your doctor will make a treatment recommendation based on your specific condition and personal health factors. Brain metastases treatment options include the following.
- Traditional surgery can be used for large tumors.
- Whole brain radiation has been used historically to eliminate cancer cells but also damages healthy brain tissue.
- Gamma Knife radiosurgery is advanced radiation therapy that can effectively eliminate tumors while avoiding many unpleasant whole brain radiation side effects.
Your Brain Metastases Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Learning you have brain metastases can be a difficult process. However, self-education is a powerful way to establish a sense of control and confidence during this time. Being more comfortable with your condition and treatment plan allows you to play a more active role in your care and the less you feel like things are happening to you. To help you develop your knowledge, the following information covers the brain metastases treatment options available around NJ, explaining how they work and why your doctor might recommend one over the other.
More About Brain Metastases
Before discussing brain metastases treatment options, it can be useful to understand more about your condition. Brain metastases are tumors that have developed and spread from other sites of the body, such as the lung or breast. You may have been aware of your primary cancer before your brain metastases diagnosis, but this is not always the case. Sometimes the brain metastases are discovered first, and your doctor will need to order a biopsy to learn the origin of the tumor.
Brain Metastases Treatment Options in NJ
Generally speaking, there are three types of treatment used for brain metastases, either alone or using a combination approach. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on the size and location of your tumor, as well as your specific health factors. Having a general understanding of the different options can be beneficial as you are discussing your individual treatment recommendations with your personal doctor.
Your doctor may recommend surgical removal, or resection, of all or part of your tumor. This may be the case if your tumor is particularly large. Sometimes the neurosurgeon will only be able to remove part of the tumor because of its proximity to delicate structures. Patients who undergo surgical brain metastases treatment will also require follow-up radiation therapy to ensure no cancer cells remain.
Brain metastases surgery takes place in a hospital setting while you are asleep and comfortable. You can expect to spend approximately three days in the hospital before returning home for the remainder of your recovery. Most patients will be on activity restrictions for 4-8 weeks, giving your body time to heal.
Whole Brain Radiation Therapy
Whole brain radiation therapy uses low doses of radiation delivered to the entire brain over multiple sessions for multiple weeks. It takes place in an outpatient setting, which means you do not need to stay in the hospital. The radiation disrupts and destroys the tumor cells over time, but also doses normal in addition to cancer cells. This can lead to many unpleasant side effects including memory and cognitive deficits. However, it is an effective treatment that has been used historically to treat many types of brain tumors.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
Though it sounds like a surgical procedure, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is actually an advanced form of radiation therapy. During the procedure, the doctor uses nearly 200 individual beams of low-dose radiation to treat your brain metastases at one time, often requiring only a single session. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is very precise, allowing your doctor to target just the area of interest, sparing healthy surrounding tissue. This results in fewer unpleasant side effects and a shorter, milder recovery period than whole brain radiation therapy. In fact, most patients are able to resume normal activities and return to work within a day or two. Gamma Knife radiosurgery has essentially replaced whole brain radiation in most cases for its ability to treat tumors and spare the normal brain.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery can be an excellent option as a primary or adjunct brain metastases treatment. It can be used to treat tumors that are in an inaccessible area, eliminating the risks associated with surgery. Your doctor may also recommend Gamma Knife radiosurgery to eradicate any cancer cells that remain after surgical removal of all or part of your tumor to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Finding Your Treatment Near Home
Brain metastases treatment can be both physically and emotionally taxing, and you may want to consider undergoing treatment close to home in northern New Jersey. This removes the element of travel and finding accommodations, helping reduce some of the stress during the treatment process. Luckily, patients in the tristate area have access to brain metastases treatment specialists who can deliver whatever form of treatment best suits your individual needs.
If you find you still have questions about your specific treatment path, be sure to bring them up with your personal doctor. He or she will be able to discuss the different brain metastases treatments and why one may be most appropriate for your particular case. Wherever you are in your treatment path, continue to educate yourself about your condition and your procedure. This knowledge will lend itself to peace of mind throughout the process, allowing you to focus your energy on healing when your body needs it most.