A tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue that can happen in any organ. There are more than 120 types of tumors that affect the brain and spinal cord. Tumors are either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior and speed of growth. They can originate in the brain itself (primary tumor), or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain (metastatic or secondary tumor).
Malignant tumors contain cancer cells. Primary brain tumors rarely spread to other areas of the body, but may recur after treatment. Sometimes, benign tumors can be life-threatening because of their size and location.
Brain and Spine Tumor Symptoms
Symptoms vary widely depending on the size and location of the tumor and may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Patients should always consult a physician for a diagnosis. Common symptoms of a brain or spine tumor may include:
- Personality changes
- Balance and coordination problems
- Vision, hearing or speech problems
- Abnormal sensations in legs, hand or fingers
How Do You Diagnose a Brain or Spine Tumor?
Diagnosis depends on the type of cells involved and the tumor’s location. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for brain and spinal cord tumors may include the following:
How Do You Treat a Brain or Spine Tumor?
Treatment of brain and spine tumors is complex and always requires a team of physicians who specialize in the most advanced therapies. These include neurosurgeons (specialists in the surgical treatment of tumors of the brain and nervous system), oncologists, radiation oncologists (specialists in radiation therapy) and the patient’s primary care physician. The team may also include a dietitian, social worker, physiotherapist and others.
Treatment depends on many variables including the type and location of the tumor, the patient's age and other medical issues. The most widely used treatments are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Our physicians, specialized in treatment of these tumors, use the most advanced techniques such as awake craniotomy for tumor removal while patient is awake, laser therapy, mini-invasive BrainPath techniques, Cyberknife, brain mapping, etc...