The type of treatment depends on your age (adult or child); your medical history; the type, location and size of the tumor; whether it is benign or malignant; and whether it is primary or the result of a cancer that has metastasized.
Though surgery is often considered last when treating other conditions, it may be the best line of defense when treating a brain tumor, depending on its location in the brain. St. Luke’s is the first in the region to be able to perform laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), a procedure that uses minimally invasive MRI-guided laser technology to target and destroy cancerous brain tumors. With this advanced laser technology, it is possible to reach some tumors previously considered inoperable.
St. Luke’s is first in Pennsylvania to offer GammaTile Therapy, a surgically targeted radiation therapy for operable brain tumors. GammaTile is a biocompatible, permanent collagen tile implant that delivers radiation therapy to the area where the brain tumor was removed. After the neurosurgeon has safely removed as much of the tumor as possible, GammaTiles are placed in the operative bed, covering the tumor cavity. Once placed, the GammaTiles immediately begin delivering a uniform dose of radiation to the targeted area. GammaTile can eliminate the need for traditional repeat radiation treatments.
In this course of treatment, high energy beams are used to shrink or kill tumor cells. St. Luke’s is able to perform frameless stereotactic radiosurgery, a procedure that uses precise, 3D computerized planning and imaging to deliver a highly concentrated dose of radiation to a targeted tumor or lesion, which reduces radiation exposure to normal, healthy tissue.
The most common chemotherapy used for cancer in the brain is in pill form. There are some targeted drug therapies used that focus on cancer cells, working, for example, to break down their ability to receive nutrients, or blocking their abnormalities.
Sometimes all three treatments are used in conjunction.
Another treatment possible at St. Luke’s is neurostimulation implantation. Performed by St. Luke’s fellowship-trained functional neurosurgeons, this highly advanced procedure is used to help alleviate pain and disability associated with brain tumors.