If you're diagnosed with a brain tumor, you know you need a solid treatment plan and team to help you. HonorHealth's experts treat a range of brain tumors and can help you with the decisions you have ahead.
Tumors that arise from the brain or spine coverings are considered primary brain tumors. Metastatic brain tumors have spread from cancer in other parts of the body, most frequently from the lungs, breast and colon. There are many different types of brain tumors, based on which cells are affected and how they look under a microscope.
Learn more about the different types of brain tumors.
Research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop a brain tumor.
Risk factors associated with an increased chance of developing a primary brain tumor include:
- Sex: In general, brain tumors are more common in males than females.
- Race: Brain tumors occur more often among whites than among people of other races.
- Age: Most brain tumors are detected in people 70 or older. However, brain tumors are the second most common cancer in children. Brain tumors are more common in children younger than 8 than in older children.
- Family history: People with family members who have gliomas might be more likely to develop this disease.
Symptoms depend on tumor size, type and location. Symptoms might be caused when a tumor presses on a nerve or damages a certain area of the brain. They also might be caused when the brain swells or fluid builds up within the skull. The most common symptoms of brain tumors include:
- Headaches (usually worse in the morning).
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Changes in speech, vision, or hearing.
- Problems balancing or walking.
- Changes in mood, personality, or ability to concentrate.
- Problems with memory.
- Muscle jerking or twitching.
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
These symptoms are not sure signs of a brain tumor. Other conditions also can cause these problems. If you are experiencing these symptoms, see a doctor as quickly as possible.
Depending on the tumor, treatment options may include:
- Surgical resection: A procedure that removes part of an organ or gland. It can also be used to remove a tumor and normal tissue around it.
- Stereotactic radiation: A type of external radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver radiation to a tumor. The total dose of radiation is divided into several smaller doses given over several days. Stereotactic radiation therapy is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It also is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): Treats brain disorders with a precise delivery of a single, high dose of radiation in a one-day session. Through the use of three-dimensional, computer-aided planning and a high degree of immobilization, the treatment can minimize the amount of radiation that passes through healthy brain tissue. Focused radiation beams are delivered to a specific area of the brain to treat abnormalities, tumors or functional disorders.
- Chemotherapy: A general term for any treatment involving the use of drugs to stop cancer cells from growing. Chemotherapy is designed to kill cancer cells and can be administered through a vein, injected into a body cavity or taken orally in the form of a pill, depending on which drug is used.
Chemotherapy works by destroying cancer cells. The downside is that it does not differentiate between a cancer cell and some healthy cells. In turn, this treatment affects not only the fast-growing cancer cells but also other fast-growing cells in your body, including hair and blood cells.
- Clinical trials: In the past, clinical trials were thought of as last resort. Today, patients with common cancers often choose to receive their first treatment in a clinical trial because evidence shows that patients who participate in clinical trials often benefit more than those who do not. Patients with advanced or rare forms of cancer now can participate in early-phase clinical trials at HonorHealth. Learn more about clinical trials.