Neurosurgeon Questions Brain Tumors

Does a tumor always need surgery to be removed?

My brother has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Will he require a surgery alone for it to be removed or can chemotherapy help him?

4 Answers

Sorry about your brother. There are many kinds of brain tumors. Some require surgery, some (not most) might shrink or stabilize with various kinds of radiation or drugs, and some can be followed carefully with CT or MRI.

Hope this helps a little,

Ari Levy, MD
Not all tumors need to be removed. Depending on the tumors location and suspected pathology is important to take into account. An acoustic neuroma can be treated with radiosurgery in some instances. Menigomas can be followed with MRIs under certain circumstances. For malignant tumors, some could ultimately be treated with a vaccine or immune therapy. Hopefully this is helpful and, if surgery is needed, I hope all goes well.

Dr. Cummings, MD
The simple answer to your question is NO, all brain tumors do not have to be removed. Many can be treated with a non-invasive method called Radiosurgery with a device called the Gamma Knife. You can look up Californiagammaknife.com for further information. Without knowing the kind of tumor and where it is located I cannot give you further advice as to whether surgery or radiosurgery or chemotherapy, etc. are indicated.
The answer to this question depends very much on the type of tumor, your brother's age and general health, and other factors. Not all tumors require surgery. Some can be treated, for example, with radio surgery (a kind of radiation treatment). Others can be observed and followed depending on many factors.