What is Brain Metastasis?
Cancer that begins in one part of the body and spreads to the brain is referred to as metastatic brain cancer or brain metastasis. More than one brain metastasis is referred to as brain metastases. Some of the cancer cells may be carried to the brain by the blood or lymphatic system, or may spread from adjacent tissue. 10-30% of cancer patients eventually develop brain metastases during the course of their illness and it is the most frequent cause of intracranial mass lesions that result in inflammation and increased pressure within the skull.
What Causes Brain Metastasis?
The most common causes for brain metastasis are:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Certain sarcomas
- Germ cell tumors
- Prostate cancer
- Colon cancer
- Melanoma cancer
- Renal Cell cancer
Symptoms of Brain Metastasis
A metastatic brain tumor is the most common brain tumor. Symptoms include seizures, headaches, behavioral and cognitive changes, and decreased coordination. There has been an increase in metastatic brain lesions as people are surviving primary cancers for longer periods of time.
Diagnosis of Brain Metastasis
Our knowledgeable team at Princeton Neurological Surgery can test for metastatic brain tumors with the latest technologies and most advanced brain exams available. Metastatic brain cancer tests may include:
- CT scan or MRI of the brain to help with the diagnosis and identify the tumor location
- Cerebral angiography to assess vascular anatomy and its relation to the tumor
- X-rays, mammograms or CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis to find the original tumor site
- Lumbar puncture (AKA spinal tap) to assess the constituents of the cerebral spinal fluid
- Examination of tissue removed from the tumor during surgery or image-guided biopsy to confirm the type of tumor
Treatment Options for Brain Metastasis
Surgery for metastatic brain cancer and radiosurgery for metastatic brain tumors are common treatment strategies for discrete lesions that are limited in number. Both of these treatments may be followed by whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) for treatment of residual or microscopic tumor cells if indicated. In cases of multiple lesions, WBRT alone may be given followed by non-invasive radiosurgery for persistent or recurrent tumors. Chemotherapy specific to the metastatic brain tumors may also be used.
WARNING: Patients with brain metastasis should be evaluated by a neurosurgeon with training in radiosurgery BEFORE the patient requires open surgery.
Dr. Lipani is a specialist in the treatment for brain metastases and urges patients to consult with him at the time the brain metastases are discovered. This way, Dr. Lipani can monitor the effects of current treatment and use radiosurgery to definitively treat the brain metastasis and prevent continued growth. This will not only treat the patient’s symptoms but prevent further tumor growth, prevent neurologic dysfunction, avoid open surgery and preserve quality of life. Furthermore, radiosurgery is more powerful than radiation therapy and is better able to protect healthy brain tissue. Please visit the JD Lipani Radiosurgery Institute, for non-invasive neurosurgery, to learn more about radiosurgery. To view case examples of what Dr. Lipani can do using radiosurgery, please click here.
At Princeton Neurological Surgery, Dr. Lipani is a board certified fellowship trained neurosurgeon in New Jersey and specialist in the treatment for brain metastasis from breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma and others. Dr. Lipani treats patients from around the world as well as locally from Princeton, New Brunswick, Hopewell, Pennington and communities throughout Somerset, Middlesex, Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth and Mercer Counties for brain metastasis. Dr. Lipani offers image guided brain surgery approaches and the latest in noninvasive radiosurgery procedures for brain metastasis, tailored to the needs of each patient. For state-of-the-art brain metastases treatment, or to learn about CyberKnife radiosurgery, call or email us to schedule a consultation at our offices in Hamilton or Bridgewater, New Jersey!