Brain metastases are a term used to describe the spread of the cancer to the brain from the site of origin somewhere else in the body. It is also known as secondary brain tumor.

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What Is The Alternative Treatment For Brain Metastases?

The treatment options for brain metastases may include medications, surgery, radioactive surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The course of treatment depends upon many factors such as size and location of the metastatic tumor, the extent of the spread, the stage of the diagnosis, age and overall health of the person. Though, surgery may be an option for many cases of brain metastases, there may be quite a few cases which may potentially benefit from the alternative treatments.

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These alternative treatments may include different forms of radiation treatments and also, chemotherapy. Alternative treatments are also used after a surgery, so that all the cancer cells can be completely removed from the body. However, alternative treatments can also be primary form of treatments, which can offer a minimally invasive method without going for a surgery.

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The different alternative treatments are as follows-

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

  • This is an advanced type of radiosurgery.
  • This can be an excellent choice of primary treatment for many brain metastases patients and with the help of this treatment, surgery can be avoided altogether.
  • Individual low-dose radiation of almost 200 beams is used in gamma knife radiosurgery.
  • It is a very precise method of radiation therapy by which only the cancer cells are targeted, and healthy cells and tissues are saved from dosing.
  • This results in an immensely effective alternative brain cancer treatment, as it causes very few unwanted and unpleasant side-effects than those caused by the whole brain radiation therapy.
  • This therapy can be carried out in an outpatient department and there is no need of a hospital stay for the person.
  • Most of the patients usually require a single sitting of the gamma knife radiosurgery, though some may require more.
  • Most of the patients go back to their normal daily activities including work, within a day or two.

Whole Brain Radiation Therapy

In this treatment method, low doses of radiation are delivered to the entire brain, which includes healthy brain cells and tissues

  • This treatment is carried out in an outpatient department and does not require a hospital stay
  • Most of the patients will require somewhere between 3 to 5 sessions in a week for at least 3 weeks
  • As the whole brain radiation therapy affects healthy cells and tissues as well, there can be severe side effects experienced by the patients. These may include memory loss and impairments in cognitive ability. Headache, nausea, fatigue and hair loss can also be seen at times.
  • Most people are aware of these side effects when they hear about radiation therapy

However, despite this being the case, whole brain radiation therapy is significantly used to treat many types of brain metastases for ages now

Chemotherapy

  • Chemotherapy uses medications delivered to the site of cancer or tumor
  • Many people are familiar with this concept
  • However, brain is such an organ of the body which is securely protected and that makes it difficult for the drugs to reach the brain and the site of cancer
  • Also, brain cancer can be made up of different types of cells, which means that different types of drugs are required to reach different sites which can further complicate the matters; as this is not a very easy method of delivering treatment to the affected site
  • As a result, chemotherapy is usually reserved for more severe or aggressive forms of cancer, as the drugs used in chemotherapy can cause severe side effects

Brain metastases can be treatable and controllable with a timely diagnosis and a right treatment. While surgery can be an option for many, alternative treatments can also provide an option in many other cases.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 16, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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