If you are diagnosed with a recurrent brain tumor, you will want to consider how additional treatment can impact your quality of life.
Supportive care can be very helpful when there is a tumor recurrence — regardless of additional treatment. Supportive or palliative care refers to strategies that ease pain and other symptoms.
Most patients with high-grade gliomas receive a lifetime dose of radiation shortly after diagnosis. It is important to be aware of your risk to healthy brain tissue if additional radiation treatment is ordered. In rare cases, when a good period of time has passed since initial treatment, special techniques, such as stereotactic radiosurgery or brachytherapy, may allow additional radiation to be directed to the tumor safely. However, there is no proof that these radiation treatments improve survival or provide any benefit to the patient compared to supportive care alone.
You may benefit from retreatment if you have:
- Good overall health
- A smaller amount of tumor present
- A longer interval (e.g., more than one year versus less than one year) between your original treatment and the recurrence
Available options for treatment for recurrent brain tumors include:
- Targeted therapy (bevacizumab or Avastin)
- Radiation therapy
- Tumor treating field device
- Clinical trials (It’s helpful to ask if you are eligible for a clinical trial and learn how it may benefit you.)