Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Cancer Care

Fremont and San Leandro Medical Centers

Overview

When abnormal cells collect in the brain, a mass forms, called a tumor. Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).

After we confirm the type and stage of your brain tumor, we’ll talk about your treatment options. Together, we’ll develop a plan that’s right for you. 

Treatment may include: 

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiosurgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • A combination of treatment options
  • Medications to manage symptoms caused by the tumor 

We know it’s overwhelming when you’re diagnosed with a brain tumor. We’re here to provide you with the best treatment and care available. We’ll also give you the support you and your loved ones need during each step of your care.

Surgery

The first step in treating most brain tumors is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Our goal is to avoid damaging healthy brain tissue. 

Surgery may be the only treatment needed for a noncancerous brain tumor. However, more serious tumors require additional treatment.

The surgical procedure used to open the skull is called a craniotomy. Advanced technology helps us to: 

  • Pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. 
  • Better plan and perform your surgery.

Once we remove the tumor, the built-up pressure within your skull is released. This provides some relief from symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and blurred vision.

Sometimes, surgery isn’t an option. We may recommend other treatment if:

  • The tumor is in a part of your brain that controls vital functions.
  • You have other health problems that put you at too high risk for surgery.
Side effects

Problems may occur after surgery to remove a brain tumor. Some are general side effects of surgery. Others depend on the location of the tumor. Side effects may include:  

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling in the brain
  • Headache and pain
  • Stroke
  • Wound-healing problems
  • Loss of brain function

We monitor you for side effects and treat any problems that occur. For example, we may treat:

  • Infection with antibiotics
  • Tissue swelling with steroid medications

Damage to healthy brain tissue is a concern with surgery. You may experience problems with vision or speech, and possibly have personality changes or seizures. These problems may be reduced or even go away with time.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to treat tumor cells. It may be used after surgery to treat any remaining cells, or when surgery isn’t an option.

The most common type is external-beam radiation therapy. A machine outside the body delivers radiation directly to the tumor and nearby tissue. Or we might treat the entire brain and sometimes the spinal cord. 

There are different methods used to deliver radiation.  

The total dose may be spread out over several weeks. You’ll receive treatment 5 days a week. Each treatment lasts a few minutes. Total visit time is about 20 minutes. 

Special computers may be used to target the tumor to reduce damage to normal tissue.

Multiple beams from different angles may deliver a large, focused dose of radiation to the tumor. It’s delivered all at once or over several treatments.

Side effects

Targeted delivery of radiation therapy reduces the risk of side effects, but problems may still occur. Side effects depend on:

  • Type of radiation you receive
  • Dose
  • Total number of treatments
  • How much of the brain or the part of the brain that’s treated

Possible side effects are:

  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes, such as redness
  • Impaired thinking (cognition)
  • Inflammation in the brain called radiation necrosis

Tell us if you experience any symptoms. We can help you manage them.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat tumor cells. It’s often used along with surgery and sometimes radiation therapy. 

Chemotherapy drugs may be taken as a pill or injected into a vein. 

Many of these drugs, however, can’t reach tumor cells in the brain. A protective barrier (the blood-brain barrier) prevents harmful toxins that might be circulating in the bloodstream from entering the brain and spinal cord. 

There are drugs that do reach the brain, and we can help determine which drugs may be helpful in treating brain cancer.

Side effects

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells, but they can also damage some normal cells. Side effects vary depending on the type and dose of drugs you receive.

Drugs delivered through the bloodstream can also affect different parts of the body. Potential side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood cell counts, which can increase the risk of infection and other problems

Although most side effects go away after treatment, let us know if you experience any symptoms so that we can help you manage them.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a relatively new approach to treating cancer. It involves the use of drugs that target specific parts of the tumor cell that help it survive and grow.

Some brain tumors can be treated with a type of targeted drug that cuts off the blood supply to the tumor. Without nutrients from blood to help it grow, the tumor dies.

Side effects

Because targeted drugs take aim specifically at cancer cells, there is less damage to healthy cells. But targeted drugs are not without side effects. Therapy that cuts off the tumor’s blood supply may cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots (lungs, arms, legs)
  • Wound-healing problems
  • Kidney and heart problems
  • A hole in the bowels

We will watch you closely for these and other side effects. Notify us as soon as you experience symptoms.

Clinical Trials

We’re always looking for new and better ways to treat brain tumors. Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments and procedures. 

We can talk about available clinical trials that may be right for you.

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