Brain Metastases

Brain metastases occur when tumors that begin in another location – such as the breasts, the lungs or the colon – spread to the brain through the bloodstream. That’s why these are known as secondary tumors. These types of tumors can grow very quickly, and the effects on surrounding brain tissue can cause a variety of symptoms.

Overview

Symptoms

The size of the tumor, how fast it’s growing, and its location inside the brain all affect the symptoms you may experience. Symptoms of brain metastases may include:

  • Sudden or severe headache
  • Seizures
  • Weakness, tingling or numbness in the arms or legs (often on one side)
  • Confusion, or changes in behavior
  • Changes in vision 
  • Changes in balance
  • Hearing loss
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Difficulty using fine motor skills

Diagnosis

First, your doctor will ask about your symptoms. He or she may recommend an MRI or a CT scan.

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Treatment Options

Dr. Amin Kassam, vice president for Neurosciences at Aurora Health Care, explains the Expanded Endonasal Approach, a minimally invasive surgery technique.

Brain metastases treatment will depend on the tumor’s primary location, how quickly it’s growing, and your symptoms and overall health. These types of tumors can often be treated and controlled, so you can continue to live a full life. Treatment options include:

  • The Expanded Endonasal Approach (EEA), a minimally invasive procedure in which the tumor is removed through the nasal passages, resulting in no incisions, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery than conventional surgery.
  • CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery, a non-invasive, robotic system that can deliver high radiation doses with pinpoint accuracy.

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