A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. A brain tumor can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Either way, they can place pressure on tissues and impair function. A noncancerous (or benign) brain tumor can be just as difficult to treat as a cancerous brain tumor. We offer comprehensive treatments for adult and pediatric brain cancer, including state-of-the-art targeted radiation therapy designed to eliminate cancer cells while preserving normal tissue. Because our team of neurologists and neurosurgeons work closely together within the same clinic, a patient with an abnormal MRI, for example, can immediately meet with a surgeon and plan a course of action.
Symptoms of Brain Tumors
Brain tumor symptoms depend on the size, type and location of the tumor. Symptoms may be caused when a tumor presses on a nerve or damages a certain area of the brain, or when the brain swells or fluid builds up within the skull.
- Behavioral and cognitive (mental) problems
- Motor and balance problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision or hearing problems
Other conditions could cause these problems. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Types of Cancerous Brain Tumors
There are more than 120 types of brain tumors that fall into two basic groups of malignant (cancerous) growths:
- Primary tumors: Brain tumors that starts in the brain tissue itself
- Metastatic brain tumors: growths that spread from someplace else. These tumors will actually be named after the tissue in which their growth began, such as a lung tumor or a kidney tumor.
Scientists do not know what causes most primary brain tumors. Viruses, defective genes and certain chemicals are all being explored and researched as possible culprits, but until the causes have been identified, there is no known way to prevent developing a brain tumor.
Expert Diagnosis for Brain Tumors
The first step in diagnosing brain tumors is a neurological exam. Our neurologists will assess your movement and sensory skills, hearing and speech, reflexes, vision, coordination and balance, mental status, and all changes in mood or behavior. Our specialists use advanced imaging techniques to diagnose your condition.
Such tests may include:
- Imaging tests, such as CT, PET scans and MRIs
- EEG, which records the electrical activity of the brain using electrodes
- Tests using inks and X-rays (angiogram or arteriogram) to show the position of blood vessels near the tumor and the extent of the tumor’s blood supply
- Biopsy of the tumor tissue
- Evoked potential, which uses electrodes to measure the electrical activity of nerves
- Lab tests on blood, urine and other substances
Brain Tumor Treatment
Research has led to advances in neurosurgery that make it possible for doctors to completely remove many tumors that were previously thought to be inoperable. We offer patients the most advanced brain tumor treatments available, including:
- Molecular targeted machines