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Can Brain Tumors Be Cured? How are They Diagnosed and Treated?

Can Brain Tumors Be Cured? How are They Diagnosed and Treated?

Brain tumors are a serious condition that a lot of people have questions about. And one of the most common questions is “Can brain tumors be cured?” In general, yes, brain tumors can be cured. However, the survival rate for cancerous brain tumors are very low.

How is a Brain Tumor Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a brain tumor is not as simple as observing the symptoms. Neurologists need to be thorough when it comes to diagnosing brain tumors in their patients.

There are a number of procedures that can be used to diagnose a brain tumor, such as the following:

Medical history

The first thing that doctors usually do is to check their patient’s medical history. This gives them insight into the patient’s health, if they have had any preexisting conditions, or if their symptoms could be explained by something else.

Doctors also check their patient’s current state of health to see if it might be related to the symptoms they’re experiencing.

Imaging procedures

If the doctor deems it necessary, patients can undergo various imaging procedures. These tests give the doctor a closer look inside the patient’s body and let them see if there are any tumors, growths, or signs that there might be a problem.

The usual imaging procedures that doctors do include:

  • Chest X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan)

These procedures are non-invasive, which means that all the patient needs to do is wait for it to be finished. These procedures also don’t cause any discomfort or any side-effects, so they are completely safe and harmless.


If the neurologist does find a tumor, it needs to be confirmed if it is malignant or not. A malignant tumor means that it is cancerous, and treatment should start as soon as possible to stop the spread of cancer.

A biopsy is a procedure wherein a small sample of the suspected tissue is harvested from the body. Afterward, it is examined under a microscope to determine whether it’s cancerous or not.

Biopsies can be done as a part of surgery to remove a brain tumor, or a standalone procedure. If it’s the latter, then a tool called a stereotactic needle is typically used to retrieve a sample. Though, this is rarely done with brain tumors nowadays. If the tumor in the brain is metastatic and the primary tumor is more accessible, the primary tumor is subjected to a biopsy procedure instead.

Lumbar puncture

A lumbar puncture is a procedure wherein a sample of your cerebrospinal fluid is taken by inserting a needle into the spine. During this procedure, local anesthesia is typically used. The sample will then be studied to check for signs of a tumor or cancer.


Can Brain Tumors be Cured?

Answering the question of whether or not brain tumors can be cured usually depends on the type of tumor. If the tumor is benign, which means it’s not cancerous, it usually can be treated without any serious complications.

But if the tumor is malignant or cancerous, treatment can be more difficult.

Treatment Options for a Brain Tumor

Depending on the prognosis made by the doctor, the following options can be provided.


For both malignant and benign brain tumors, surgery is a viable form of treatment. This involves removing a part of the skull to access the brain directly, and cutting out the tumor.

Afterward, tests will be done to see if the tumor is cancerous or not. If it is cancerous, then the patient might need to undergo additional treatment.


Chemotherapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for cancerous tumors. It uses strong drugs to kill off cancerous cells in the body. However, it can also cause side-effects such as

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Brain or chemo fog, which is a cognitive disorder related to systemic chemotherapy


Radiotherapy can be used to kill off cancer cells and shrink tumors. This procedure radiation, including X-rays, to kill off tumors or slow down their growth.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Brain Tumor: Types of Treatment | Cancer.Net, https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/types-treatment#:~:text=If%20there%20is%20visible%20tumor,by%20your%20health%20care%20team., Accessed January 20, 2021

Brain Tumor: Diagnosis | Cancer.Net, https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/diagnosis#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20diagnosing%20a%20brain,after%20a%20biopsy%20or%20surgery., Accessed January 20, 2021

Brain Tumor Treatment | UCSF Health, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/brain-tumor/treatment, Accessed January 20, 2021

Brain tumor – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brain-tumor/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350088, Accessed January 20, 2021

Brain Tumor Treatment Options | National Brain Tumor Society, https://braintumor.org/brain-tumor-information/treatment-options/, Accessed January 20, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated May 25
Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, M.D.