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Medical Therapy


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Some brain tumors require medical therapy. Medical therapy uses different medicines to shrink tumors, destroy tumor cells, or prevent tumors from growing and spreading.

Types of medical therapy for brain tumors include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

We provide medical therapy before, after, or sometimes in place of neurosurgery. Your brain tumor team works closely with you to determine which treatments will be most effective for your tumor.

Who Is a Candidate?

Not all brain tumors respond well to medical therapy. Your doctor may suggest medical therapy if you have a brain tumor that responds to treatment or a tumor that cannot be fully removed during surgery.

What to Expect

You can receive medical therapy for brain tumors in different ways. Your doctor will help you determine which way is most effective for you.

Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancerous brain tumors. Chemotherapy is not used as commonly for brain cancer as it is for other types of cancer because it is often not effective for brain tumors.

Chemotherapy uses medicines that destroy tumor cells. You may receive the medicines through an IV in your arm, injections, or pills. Some patients, such as those with high-grade glioma, also receive chemotherapy through wafers placed in the brain during surgery. Over time, the wafers dissolve, dispensing drugs directly onto the tumor.

At Sylvester Brain Tumor Institute, we are researching new types of medical therapies such as immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments encourages your body’s own immune cells to attack and destroy cancer cells. You may receive immunotherapy through injections or through an IV.

Targeted therapy is another new type of treatment we are researching at Sylvester Brain Tumor Institute. Targeted therapies are medicines that pinpoint specific proteins in a cancer cell. These therapies block or destroy proteins, preventing cancer cells from growing or spreading. Some tumors, such as glioblastoma, already have approved targeted therapy treatments. We also offer targeted therapy through clinical trials.

Slow-growing tumors that are not cancerous may respond to other types of medical therapy such as corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are medicines that help reduce inflammation in the brain. If you have a slow-growing tumor, such as meningioma, corticosteroids might relieve symptoms without surgery. Other medicines, such as anti-seizure medicines or anti-depressants, may also help treat symptoms of brain tumors.

We use comprehensive medical and surgical therapies to treat brain tumors. You should always speak to your brain tumor care team about your treatment options.

Why Choose Us?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. The National Cancer Institute has recognized Sylvester for its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

Groundbreaking brain tumor treatment. Experts from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and UHealth make up one of the largest and most complete teams for brain tumor treatment in the United States. Through multi-disciplinary cooperation, our team employs innovative procedures like awake craniotomies, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, and many other techniques. We use the least invasive neurosurgical techniques on both adults and children, which reduces recovery time and makes a significant difference in your quality of life.

Dedicated brain tumor experts. Your care team consists of specialized physicians and researchers who are committed to brain tumor care. Your team may include neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, neuropathologists, and other physicians who focus solely on treating brain tumors. Their years of experience and expertise help you find the right treatment for you.

Innovative research that changes the future of brain tumor care. As the only academic medical center in the area, we are on the cutting edge of brain tumor treatment and research. As a patient at UHealth, you also have access to the innovative research and the latest in clinical trials. Our ongoing translational and clinical research has spawned promising treatments like the heat shock protein vaccine and targeted therapies designed for your specific type of brain tumor.

International leaders in brain tumor care. We play a vital role in the community, thanks to our groundbreaking research and patient care for people in Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We’re turning Miami into the healthcare capital of the Americas. We’re creating one of the premier brain tumor centers in the country.

Surgical expertise. We perform thousands of brain tumor surgeries every year and care for more brain tumors than any other health center in Florida. Our skilled neurosurgeons are consistently pioneering new treatments. From minimally invasive spine surgeries to awake craniotomies, we offer unique surgeries you cannot find anywhere else in the region.

Concierge service. Patients do not have to figure it all out alone at UHealth. Patients are assigned a concierge coordinator who is there for you and your family while you are in our care. They connect you with other providers you may need, walk you through the surgery process, and can answer any questions you or your family may have.

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