Surgery for brain cancer
Brain cancer treatment at CTCA commonly involves surgery as the first line of treatment. Our cancer experts are experienced in performing minimally invasive surgical procedures for brain cancer that precisely and safely remove tumors.
The goal of brain cancer surgery is to locate and remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible, called debulking, and to understand the extent of cancer in the brain.
Surgery can also help to relieve pressure inside the skull and restore lost neurological function. It can help to relieve difficult-to-control seizures caused by the tumor. Sometimes, surgery is used to enable direct access for other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Brain cancer surgery often begins with a biopsy. In a biopsy, we remove samples of cancerous tissue from the brain, and a pathologist examines the samples under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis. Often, during a biopsy, we’ll remove the tumor in its entirety, which is particularly important when the tumor threatens important brain structures.
Resectable vs. unresectable brain tumors
The location and size of the brain tumor, along with other individual factors, determine whether a tumor is resectable or unresectable. Some tumors are considered unresectable if they’re located in critical areas of the brain, where surgical removal would be too dangerous or cause too much damage to healthy brain tissue. The safety of tumor resection may be increased by the use of neuro-physiological monitoring "brain mapping." We use brain mapping techniques whenever possible during brain and spinal surgery.
What is surgery?
Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss appropriate surgical options that meet your individual needs.
Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other medical comorbidities. For many patients, surgery will be combined with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant) to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.
Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage any side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians are available to work with your surgical oncologist to support your healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function, often at the time of surgery or following surgery.