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Brain

Brain tumors may be benign or malignant and either primary or metastatic. Radiation therapy plays an important role in curing such tumors with advanced types of treatment like IMRT or SRS.

Overview

Brain tumors are tumors that either start within cells of the brain (primary) or are metastatic (spread from tumor cells originating in other organs). Brain metastases are far more common than primary brain tumors. Most primary brain tumors originate from the glial cells and are called gliomas. Gliomas can be low-grade (unaggressive) or high-grade (very aggressive).

01.

Symptoms

Certain rare genetic disorders also raise the risk for developing certain types of brain tumors:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Speech problems
  • Physical weakness, often on one side of the body
  • Imbalance or difficulty walking
  • Impaired vision or a restricted field of vision
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02.

Risk Factors

Most primary brain tumors occur by chance, but there are two proven environmental risk factors:

  • X-ray exposure to the head
  • Use of drugs that suppress the immune system

Certain rare genetic disorders also raise the risk for developing certain types of brain tumors:

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome increases the risk of gliomas
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease increases the risk of hemangioblastomas
  • Tuberous sclerosis increases the risk of astrocytomas
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1 increases the risk of gliomas
  • Neurofibromatosis type 2 increases the risk of acoustic neuromas and meningiomas

03.

Screening/Diagnosis

Diagnosis is typically based on imaging studies such as CT scan or most importantly MRI. Biopsy then often follows to determine the cell type of the tumor and the pathologist sometimes orders special tests to yield additional information about the cancer.

04.

Treatment Options

Management of gliomas includes maximal safe surgical resection (alone in low grade) followed by radiation therapy and sometimes also oral chemotherapy pills (Temodar) in more aggressive cases. Radiation therapy in such cases is typically between 30-33 daily treatments.

05.

World Class Treatment

At Texas Radiotherapy, we utilize TomoHelical treatment delivery, which is an advanced technique of IMRT that produces superior treatment plans and clinical results.