Chemotherapy for Metastatic Brain Tumors

NYU Langone specialists may prescribe chemotherapy if metastases are found in the brain or elsewhere in the body. This group of drugs is used to destroy cancer cells throughout the body.

Chemotherapy may be given by mouth or through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion. There are many new drugs available to manage cancer. Many deliver a targeted treatment to the tumor cell or enhance the immune system in a process called immunotherapy.

The size and origin of the tumors, determined at the time of diagnosis, help a doctor decide which chemotherapy drugs to use as well as the length and number of treatment cycles.

Chemotherapy is often given after surgery and may be combined with radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of the cancer returning. This approach is called chemoradiation.

When chemotherapy is administered through an IV, the infusion generally lasts several hours. This is followed by a rest period of several weeks to allow the body to recover. This treatment cycle may be repeated several times over a period of three to six months.

Chemotherapy taken by mouth may be prescribed daily for several days or a couple of weeks, depending on the drug used, followed by a rest period. This cycle may also be repeated over several months.

Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects

Side effects of chemotherapy can include low levels of certain blood cells, fatigue, a loss of appetite, and nausea and vomiting. NYU Langone specialists help manage side effects by prescribing additional medication, adjusting the chemotherapy dose, or recommending integrative therapies.

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