If the tumour returns
For some people, a brain or spinal cord tumour does come back or continues growing despite treatment. If the tumour returns, this is known as a recurrence. Your treatment options will depend on your situation and the treatments you’ve already had, but may include targeted therapy.
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Treatment if the tumour returns
Targeted therapy drugs act on proteins found on cancer cells. Because these proteins are found in small amounts or not at all on normal cells, they tend to cause fewer side effects. Bevacizumab is a targeted therapy drug that works by stopping cancer cells from developing new blood vessels and growing. It is given as a drip into a vein in repeated cycles. Other targeted therapy drugs are being developed.
Palliative treatment helps to improve quality of life by treating the symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease. It can be used at any stage of advanced cancer. As well as slowing the spread of cancer, palliative treatment can relieve pain and help other symptoms. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medicines or supplements.
Palliative treatment is one aspect of palliative care, in which a team of health professionals aims to meet your physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual and social needs. Palliative care services can be accessed in the home as well as in a hospital or in residential care.
For more on this, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or see Palliative care.
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A/Prof Andrew Davidson, Neurosurgeon, Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Oncology Clinics Victoria, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC; Melissa Harrison, Allied Health Manager and Senior Neurological Physiotherapist, Advance Rehab Centre, NSW; Scott Jones, Consumer; Anne King, Neurology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Health Department, WA; Dr Toni Lindsay, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Allied Health Manager, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Elissa McVey, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Claire Phillips, Deputy Director, Radiation Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC.
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