- How are brain and spinal cord tumors in adults treated?
- Surgery for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Radiation therapy for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Chemotherapy for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Targeted therapy for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Other drug treatments for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Clinical trials for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Complementary and alternative therapies for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- Treating specific types of adult brain and spinal cord tumors
- More treatment information for adult brain and spinal cord tumors
How are brain and spinal cord tumors in adults treated?
This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.
General comments about treatment
Brain and spinal cord tumors can often be hard to treat and may require care from a team of several different doctors. This team is often led by a neurosurgeon, a doctor who uses surgery to treat brain and nervous system tumors. Other doctors on the team may include:
- Neurologist: a doctor who diagnoses and treats brain and nervous system diseases
- Radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
- Medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancers
- Endocrinologist: a doctor who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.
Several types of treatment may be used to treat brain and spinal cord tumors, including:
Treatment is based on the type of tumor and other factors, and in many cases a combination of treatments is used. Doctors plan each person's treatment individually to give them the best chance of treating the cancer effectively while limiting the possible long-term side effects.
The next few sections describe the various types of treatments used for brain and spinal cord tumors. This is followed by a description of the most common approaches used based on the type of tumor.
Last Medical Review: 10/09/2012
Last Revised: 02/06/2013