Brain cancer is a group of malignant oncological pathologies when a tumour arises from the brain tissues or its membranes. Usually this is characterised by an unfavourable prognosis.
If not treated, a patient’s death is possible within 2-3 months after the diagnosis. The treatment of brain cancer in Germany enables the option to increase the lives of such patients.
Difficulties of brain cancer treatment
The main issue concerning brain cancer surgical treatment is that a tumour might be located on the functionally active parts of the brain. The damage is irreversible and creates significant neurological deficit after the procedure.
Nonetheless, even if a malformation has a surface location, a surgeon is unable to move far from its edges as it leads to considerable damage of the healthy brain tissues. Thus, the risk of recurrence remains high even after the surgery.
One more challenge of treatment is the tumours’ poor response to chemotherapy. The majority of medications simply don’t penetrate enough through the blood-brain barrier.
Innovative treatment techniques
Innovative methods of brain cancer treatment in Germany help achieve good survival results. In some cases it is possible to achieve a complete cure of the disease (a more favourable prognosis is characteristic for tumours that develop from the meninges).
A common surgical procedure involves craniotomy and the tumour removal. But the methods of surgical treatment are constantly being improved.
German hospitals are now offering:
Cryosurgical methods. If the tumour is at a great depth, it is almost impossible to remove it using the usual surgical way. In such cases, cryosurgery is sometimes used. A cryoprobe is inserted into the brain. The tumour tissues are frozen with its help and, as a result, the malformation dies.
Areas of cryosurgical application methods for brain cancer treatment:
- The need to remove the tumour in the functionally active parts of the central nervous system
- Occurrence of a tumour or cancer metastasis of another location at great depth
- Removal of tumour residues after surgery
- Multiple malformations of small size (metastases)
Cryosurgery, if necessary, is combined with any other methods of brain cancer treatment (surgery, radiation therapy, drug treatment).
Endoscopic operations. Microsurgical interventions suggest the introduction of a camera, a source of light and microsurgical instruments through small incisions or punctures. Tumours only of certain locations allow such operations. For example, to remove neoplasms located in the pituitary gland, the doctor can gain access through the nose. In case of tumours located in the ventricles of the brain, they can be removed through small holes in the skull. The main advantage of such operations is low tissue trauma, as there is no need for a craniotomy.
Fluorescent diagnostics is performed within the framework of a standard open surgery. The patient ingests a special solution that accumulates inside the cancer cells. When using an operating microscope, the surgeon observes the glow of such cells. Therefore, he is able to better distinguish pathological tissues from the healthy ones. On the one hand fluorescent diagnostics enables the complete removal of the tumour, on the other hand - it avoids unnecessary damage to the healthy brain areas.
Conventional radiation therapy, involving the distant brain irradiation, not only destroys tumour cells, but also damages healthy tissues. This limits the possibility of its use, because large doses of radiation bring more harm than good to the patient.
Today, methods for radiation exposure have been developed and are being actively used in Germany, which minimise the damaging effect on the healthy tissues and increases the radiation dose.
In German hospitals they use:
- IGRT – radiation therapy under visual control (in the course of treatment, brain regions are visualised by means of computed tomography, which makes it possible to direct rays more accurately)
- IMRT – intensity-modulated radiotherapy (makes it possible to create an intense beam of rays corresponding to the form of the tumour)
- 3D-CRT – stereotactic conformal radiation therapy (the highest accuracy of targeting the rays onto the tumour is achieved with the help of a stereotaxic system)
Selective radiotherapy. Radioisotopes are introduced into the vessels of the brain that are connected to the tumour. A catheter is installed for this purpose. This method of action is aimed at destroying the tumour, basically without affecting healthy tissues.
Gamma knife is a method of tumour irradiation, minimally affecting the surrounding tissues. It is used as an alternative to surgical treatment for a tumour size of up to 3.5 cm. Not all tumour sites are available for removal this way. Some of them lie very deep, and therefore the doctor cannot perform a resection without affecting the healthy areas of the brain. Gamma-knife allows you to accurately focus large doses of radiation on the tumour and destroy it.
New methods of brain cancer treatment are actively being developed and the latest achievements of world medicine are being introduced in Germany.
- Proton therapy is used as an alternative to IMRT and other high-tech radiation exposure techniques. But it has an important advantage: protons passing through tissues significantly less damage them, releasing energy in the focus of the tumour process. Proton therapy is just as effective or if not better than radiation therapy. Also it is also much safer for the patient.
- TTFs - therapy by an alternating electric field is the newest achievement in the field of the treatment of brain cancer. The patient uses a device that generates an alternating electric field. It is used for 18 hours a day. TTFs triggers apoptosis (self-destruction) of cancer cells, and does not have a negative effect on healthy brain tissue. The study, completed in 2016, suggests that TTFs increases the life expectancy of patients with certain forms of brain cancer by 2 times.
Benefits of treatment in Germany
Treatment in Germany gives the patient a number of advantages in comparison with the treatment course his home country. Although treatment in European hospitals is more expensive, it can significantly improve the prognosis of the disease. The duration and quality of life increases. In some cases it is possible to achieve complete cure of the disease.
The main advantages of treatment in Germany are:
- Some of the best doctors from all over the world practice here, having great experience in the treatment of the brain diseases.
- Operations are carried out very carefully - specialists are monitoring to not only the removal of the entire volume of the tumour, but also try to keep healthy brain tissue.
- Innovative methods of treatment are available, both surgical and non-surgical.
- The highest level of hospital equipment, which ensures the accuracy of diagnosis and the maximum effectiveness of treatment.
- After the course of therapy, it is possible to undergo neurological rehabilitation, which helps to ensure the maximum restoration of the functions of the brain.
What hospitals treat brain cancer?
There are many medical institutions where brain cancer is treated in Germany. Here are some of them:
- Clinic Alfred Krupp Ruettenscheid. Neurosurgery is one of the leading fields in this institution. Here they perform microsurgical interventions, brain surgeries of any complexity. Also, they apply radiosurgical techniques for tumour removal.
- Jena University Hospital has a department of radio oncology and radiation therapy. Cutting-edge techniques of brain cancer treatment are available here. This hospital is very well-known not only in Germany, but beyond its borders as well.
- Essen University Hospital offers one of the most high-tech directions in brain cancer treatment - proton therapy. It is held on the basis of West German Centre for Proton Therapy. According to the “FOCUS” magazine, this is one of the best clinics in Germany. It constantly conducts clinical research and introduces innovative methods of brain cancer treatment.
How to go for treatment to Germany?
To go to Germany for treatment, you need to choose a medical institution, negotiate all issues with its management about the treatment, get a visa, get to Germany, and then find your way to the clinic.
Otherwise, you can make your life easier and use an online-platform called Booking Health to book treatment abroad. We will take care of all organisational issues, and you will be able to focus exclusively on getting well.
Using Booking Health services will allow you to:
- Choose a hospital where treatment will be most effective and affordable.
- Organise treatment in Germany much faster, because having brain cancer, the earlier a patient receives adequate medical care, the more chances for survival he has.
- Obtain insurance covering up to 200 thousand Euros for unforeseen medical expenses during the treatment course and within 48 months after the treatment.
- Ensure the solution of all household and organisational issues, including logistics, translation of documents, interpretation, the possibility of placement in the wards of increased comfort, etc.
- Obtain advice from the attending physician within 3 months after undergoing treatment in Germany at no extra charge.
Leave a request on the Booking Health website, and we will contact you in a few hours, as soon as we find the most suitable hospital. With our help, you can book a treatment in one of these German hospitals within the next 24 hours.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova
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Many treatments program are already bookable on bookinghealth.com