Metastatic Brain Tumors
What is Metastatic Brain Cancer?
Cancer that begins in one part of the body and spreads to the brain is referred to as metastatic brain cancer. Some of the cancer cells may be carried to the brain by the blood or lymphatic system, or may spread from adjacent tissue. Ten to thirty percent 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 Metastatic Brain Cancer?
The most common causes for metastatic brain cancer are:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Certain sarcomas
- Germ cell tumors
- Prostate cancer
- Colon cancer
- Melanoma cancer
- Renal Cell cancer
“Our ability to control metastatic disease within the brain and spine at the JD Lipani Radiosurgery Institute is exceptional with success in 98% of our patients. In many cases, we provide an effective alternative to whole brain radiation therapy in an effort to prevent injury to healthy brain function.
The result is the preservation of motor, sensory, and cognitive function in our patients.”– Dr. Lipani
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 lesions as people are surviving primary cancers for longer periods of time.
Our knowledgeable team 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
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.