Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these may be used to treat a glioma. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, each personalized care plan is guided by several factors. These include the size, type, and grade of the tumor and whether it is putting pressure on important parts of the brain or has spread to other parts of the body.
Before we recommend any treatment, you will meet with a surgeon. You will most likely also see a medical oncologist. This ensures that experts in both specialties thoroughly evaluate you to determine the best care plan for you.
Surgery is often the best way to remove a glioma and learn more about it. At MSK, glioma surgery is more effective and safer than ever before. Our neurosurgeons are skilled at using advanced technologies to help protect your vision, movement, and other important functions during brain surgery.
Glioblastoma tumors are challenging to remove completely with surgery. For that reason, they can be difficult to cure. However, new approaches and clinical trials are showing promise at extending survival.
Radiation Therapy for Glioma
Radiation therapy can shrink or kill tumor cells. We may recommend radiation therapy as the first treatment, followed by surgery, chemotherapy, or both. We may also recommend radiation for tumors that come back after treatment.
Chemotherapy for Glioma
Chemotherapy may be given after surgery, usually in combination with radiation. This is an option after it is clear exactly where the tumor is located and the findings from surgery are in. Chemotherapy is sometimes given before surgery to shrink a tumor so it will be easier to remove.
Immunotherapy for Glioma
Immunotherapy triggers the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. This new treatment approach is showing promise for the treatment of some gliomas.
Specialized Care for Older Patients
Cancer and its treatment are a challenge for anyone, regardless of age. But if you’re over 65, you may face unique issues that affect people only in your age group. We’re committed to providing people of all ages who have cancer with the treatment, facilities, and support they need.
Your care team will include healthcare professionals who have the specialized training and experience to effectively treat older patients. Every aspect of your care — diagnosis, treatment, recovery, support — will be tailored to meet your needs.
Why choose MSK for glioma treatment?
- Our multidisciplinary team is among the most experienced in the field, drawing on our vast expertise to determine the best care plan. Our world-class experts specialize in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, radiology, pathology, and nursing. We work closely together and meet regularly to discuss the treatment of the people we care for.
- Our surgeons use advanced surgical techniques to limit side effects and speed recovery. MSK neurosurgeons operate on more than 600 people with brain tumors each year, which is among the highest number of patients cared for in the world.
- We offer molecular and genetic tests that enable our specialized pathologists to analyze brain tissue and help determine the care plan that is most likely to shrink or control the specific type of tumor you have. With this information, MSK is developing glioma treatments that target specific genetic mutations in cancer cells.
- Our radiation oncologists offer advanced radiation techniques to target tumors and areas where there is a risk the cancer may come back while working to reduce radiation exposure to healthy tissue. We can deliver radiation guided by highly sophisticated imaging approaches that are not available at most hospitals.
- Our medical oncologists deliver chemotherapy treatments that prioritize effectiveness and help you maintain your quality of life.
- We offer access to clinical trials that are investigating new and improved treatments for gliomas. Sometimes these trials offer therapies years before they are available anywhere else.
- MSK nurses are specifically trained to care for people with a glioma. We also have a comprehensive program to support the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people with a glioma during and after treatment.
- We provide flexibility in how and where to receive treatment. Our specialists are conveniently located in Manhattan and at our regional outpatient locations in New Jersey, on Long Island, and in Westchester County. This provides our patients with the same outstanding care from MSK doctors closer to home.