A brain tumor, known as an intracranial tumor, is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Not all brain tumors are cancerous. Still, any growth inside the rigid skull can lead to problems. When malignant or benign tumors grow, they can increase pressure inside the skull. This can cause brain damage and potentially be life-threatening.
A patient newly diagnosed with a brain tumor may have a lot of fear and a lot of questions about the unknown. Understanding brain tumors and the treatment options can be reassuring and ease the fear.
Types of Brain Tumors
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, there are more than 120 types of brain and central nervous system tumors. A brain tumor can originate in the brain. This is classified as a primary brain tumor. They can develop from brain cells, membranes, nerve cells, or glands. A primary brain tumor can be benign or cancerous.
Sometimes cancer starts in another part of the body and spreads to the brain. This is referred to as secondary or metastatic brain tumors. Only about one-fourth of brain tumors are secondary.
Malignant brain tumors have cancer cells. They grow at various rates while attacking healthy brain tissues. Benign tumors tend to grow slowly. Often, they are removed especially if they press on certain areas of the brain.
The treatment for a brain tumor depends on the type of tumor, where it’s located, the size, and the patient’s age and health. One option is a craniotomy. In this procedure, the surgeon removes part of the bone from the skull to access the brain.
A craniotomy may involve the use of computers and imaging to help the surgeon reach a precise location within the brain. Surgery may be combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Another option is stereotactic radio surgery (SRS). Unlike a craniotomy, it does not involve cutting. This non-surgical radiation therapy uses 3D imaging to deliver precisely-targeted radiation. Surgeons use SRS to treat small brain tumors and brain abnormalities. Patients receive fewer high-dose treatments that can help preserve preserving healthy tissue.
Aside from avoiding invasive surgery, the advantages of the SRS is that it can access hard to reach areas including those located near vital organs. And it can be done on an outpatient basis. Complete treatment may take up to five separate sessions with each taking 30 to 60 minutes.
Dr. Michael specializes in stereotactic radio surgery and microsurgery of the brain and spine. He educates his patients about their diagnosis and provides them with the best treatment options. To schedule an appointment with him, please contact us or call 214-823-2052.