Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Brain tumour treatment

2-minute read

If you are diagnosed with a brain tumour, your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you.

Decisions about treatment will be based on your tumour, your health and your needs and preferences.

You may be referred to specialists including:

Brain tumour treatment options

Suggestions for treatment will be based on:

  • your age, health and medical history
  • the type, location and size of the tumour
  • how fast the tumour is growing, and how likely it is to spread or come back
  • your symptoms
  • how you may react to different therapies

The main treatments for brain tumours are:

If you have headaches or seizures you may be given medication to manage them.

In addition to standard treatments, doctors may suggest you consider taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are research studies to test new treatments. Read more about clinical trials on the Cure Brain Cancer website.

Talk to your doctor about all options, their side effects and how to manage them.

For information about support options for you, your family and your carers, go to Cancer Council support information or call their helpline on 13 11 20.


Surgery for brain tumours aims to remove as much of the tumour as possible while minimising damage to healthy parts of the brain.

Sometimes the tumour may not be able to be removed, or some of it may be left behind, because it’s too close to important areas of your brain.

Surgery may also be necessary to:

  • relieve pressure on your brain
  • reduce the size of the tumour to make it easier to be treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy


Radiotherapy involves treatment with x-rays to destroy the tumour or delay its growth.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.

It may be used to kill cells remaining after surgery, to slow your tumour’s growth, or to minimise your symptoms.

It usually follows surgery and can be given in combination with radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy drugs for brain cancer are usually either swallowed, or given through a drip inserted into your vein (intravenously).

Palliative care

Palliative care is the name given to treatment that aims to manage your symptoms and make you as comfortable as possible, without trying to cure your cancer. Palliative care is often given when cancer has reached an advanced stage, but it can also be used at other stages of the illness.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Brain Cancer & Tumours - Information, Treatment & Support |

Brain tumours are a range of conditions that affect different parts of the brain and people of all ages. Learn more about causes and treatment with Canteen.

Read more on Canteen website

Brain Tumour / Cancer - Brain Foundation

Brain Tumour/Cancer Description There are numerous types of brain tumours and they all behave differently and so require different combinations of treatment

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Brain Cancer Treatment - Targeting Cancer

Learn more about brain cancer and the different treatments available.

Read more on Radiation Oncology Targeting Cancer website

Brain cancer - NT.GOV.AU

Early detection, symptoms and treatment for brain tumours.

Read more on NT Health website

Brain cancer | Causes, Symptoms & Treatments | Cancer Council

What is brain cancer? Find out about the symptoms, causes, treatment options and more. Get the facts from Cancer Council here

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Cognitive changes & chemo brain - Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Cognitive changes are problems with thinking, memory and behaviour. They're often called 'chemo brain', but can be related to other treatments.

Read more on Canteen website

Brain tumours: Overview | Cancer Council Victoria

Read more on Cancer Council Victoria website

Brain tumours - gliomas - Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Rare Cancers Australia - Treatment Options

We understand it may be a little overwhelming at first when you hear about the treatment options available

Read more on Rare Cancers Australia website

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) - Targeting Cancer

Learn more about intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and its benefits for cancer treatment.

Read more on Radiation Oncology Targeting Cancer website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo