What is a Brain Metastasis?
Brain Metastasis are cancers that have an origin from somewhere else in the body. In some situations the original site is already known, in others the primary site has yet to be identified and the brain lesion is the first clinical manifestation.
What type of symptoms do they cause?
Symptoms can vary from patient to patient and may be determined by the size, location and amount of edema associated with the lesion. Patients maybe asymptomatic and the lesion identified as part of routine screening while other patients may have a variety of neurologic signs or symptoms. They can include headache, blurry vision, double vision, nausea, vomiting, speech difficulty, numbness, tingling, weakness, balance difficulties and seizurs.
Where do they come from?
Cancers may originate from a number of common sites. The most common are lung, breast, GI/GU sources, melanoma, lymphoma as well as others.
What treatments exist?
Modern treatments consist of a collaborative approach among neurosurgeons, oncologists and radiation oncologists. Edema can be temporarly relieved with the use of corticosteroids. Seizures can be controlled with antiseizure medication. More definitive treatment of the tumor can be done using a number of options ranging from surgery to stereotactic radiosurgery and whole brain radiation.
In patients with controlled systemic disease, limited intracranial disease and good performance status surgery may be an option. In addition in patients with large symptomatic lesions, neurologic deficits related to the lesion or lack of a primary diagnosis surgery may be effective.
Recent advances in radiotherapy allows radiosurgery to be utilized for the treatment of multiple brain lesions in one setting. This can be performed as a primary therapy, in conjunction with surgery or whole brain radiotherapy and can provide excellent local control.
A number or factors will help determine the optimal treatment paradigm. Our team of neurosurgeons can aid in navigating among the options and provide a treatment plan tailored to you.