Radiation oncologists – doctors who specialize in radiation treatment – prescribe radiation therapy to patients for a number of reasons. The treatment may be offered for different reasons:
Therapeutic – to control the cancer and potentially eliminate it
Curative – to eliminate the cancer completely
Adjuvant – to work together with traditional surgery, chemotherapy or other therapy
Palliative – to relieve symptoms from the brain tumor
In many cases, radiation therapy is a viable treatment option when brain tumors are inoperable due to their position and the sensitivity of the surrounding tissue or organs. It is also used as a follow-up to surgery to help destroy remaining tumor tissue that was left behind. Radiation therapy can be used before, during or after chemotherapy, or in conjunction with a drug therapy that can help make the tumor cells more sensitive to the radiation.
You and your cancer team will discuss the best option for you based on your tumor type, location, stage and overall general health. There are continuous advancements in the field that are opening up new options for patients and you should discuss all options with your doctor.