Not ALL brain cancers need to be operated on! There are alternative non-invasive treatments available, such as radiosurgery
Our resident Blogger Nurse, Robyn Nazar RN, clears up some common myths and misconceptions about brain tumors.
This year, Cancer Awareness Day-ran by the Union for International Cancer Control-is on a myth busting mission. Focusing on four primary misconceptions about cancer, the day aims to break down the ivory towers of suspicion and misunderstanding that surround cancer.
They aim to put the record straight.
Naturally, there are hundreds of misconceptions about cancer. Cancer Awareness Day focuses on four:
Myth 1: Cancer is just a health issue
Myth 2: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries
Myth 3: Cancer is a death sentence
Myth 4: Cancer is my fate
As a member of the health care community, I decided to get involved and use my own myth busting skills, to tackle myth number #3: Cancer is a death sentence.
Concentrating on brain cancer, a cancer that will affect 69,720 American’s in 2013, I investigated these common misconceptions, which attribute to the idea that brain cancer is a death sentence.
MYTH: Open brain surgery is the only option available to treat a malignant (cancerous) brain tumor.
TRUTH: Known as a craniotomy in the world of surgery, open brain surgery is the most common treatment for malignant brain tumors, HOWEVER it is not the only option.
Dr. Lipani, a leading expert in brain and spine radiosurgery, finds that:
Many patients are unaware of the non-invasive or knifeless option for treatment of brain tumors
These knifeless options are radiotherapy, radiosurgery and chemotherapy, which, depending on the case, may be used alone, or together to tackle and kill cancerous brain cells. They do not carry the same risk of infection and tissue damage as brain surgery.
Radiotherapy and radiosurgery in particular, is extremely important for the treatment of brain and indeed other cancers. Cancer Awareness Day advocates the message that:
Radiotherapy should be included in EVERY country’s cancer treatment plan, as it is a good quality, affordable and an effective cancer treatment
MYTH: Metastatic brain cancer cannot be controlled.
TRUTH: Although 10-30% of cancer patients will develop brain metastasis, radiology experts find with the new technology available in this field, that they manage to control metastasis in 98% of patients. Ninety Eight PERCENT! That does not sound like an uncontrollable disease to me.
MYTH: Radiological treatment of brain cancer will damage a person’s sensory (one or more of their 5 senses), movement and cognitive (thinking) function.
TRUTH: Remember how I mentioned above that there are many new technologies available in radiotherapy? Yes? Great. New technology in radiotherapy means that we control better than EVER before, the delivery of radiation to cancer cells, via a new system called radiosurgery.
One such technology is CyberKnife (which has nothing to do with knives!). Developed in Stanford in 1994 by the respected John R. Adler, Jr. MD, Cyberknife technology delivers radiation SO precisely that it is said to “paint” the tumor with radiation. It is unmatched by other radiotherapy and radiosurgery delivery systems. The way in which CyberKnife pin points the tumor, means that surrounding healthy tissue is spared.
This new technology also uses image guided software. This means, the radiation delivery is extremely sensitive. Any slight patient and/or tumor movement can be picked up immediately; also ensuring surrounding health tissue is not damaged.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Perhaps a little complicated? Like it could be an intense and heavy procedure? Think again. Expert radiologists actually schedule some patients radio sessions during their patients lunch breaks from work!
Phew! I am a little tired after all that myth busting, if you still have energy, check out the World Cancer Day website for more information about Cancer Myths!