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Brain tumors consist of masses of abnormal cells that have grown uncontrollably. Brain tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
Primary brain tumors are those that start in the brain. When a tumor spreads to the brain from somewhere else in the body, it is known as a metastatic brain tumor.
Brain Tumor Types
Brain tumors are named for the types of cells where the tumor begins. Some of the more common ones include:
- Glioma, malignant tumors that start in the glial cells and include:
- Astrocytoma, which include glioblastoma
- Benign brain tumors, including acoustic neuroma, pituitary tumor, meningioma, craniopharyngioma and pineal region tumor
Brain Tumor Symptoms
As brain tumors grow, they can press against, displace or destroy brain tissue. This can cause symptoms such as:
- Seizures or twitching
- Changes in speech, vision or hearing
- Problems balancing or walking
- Memory issues
- Mood or personality changes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
Brain Tumor Treatment at Valley
Your treatment will be determined by factors such as the size, location and type of brain tumor, as well as your overall health. Treatment options may include some of the following:
Brain Tumor Surgery
- The goal of brain tumor surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without compromising any critical functions in the brain.
- At Valley, we use frameless navigation during surgery, also known as frameless neuronavigation. This navigation system allows our neurosurgeons to avoid critical areas of the brain during tumor removal.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
- Valley’s Gamma Knife is designed for fast, efficient treatment. Treatments last between 15 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the size and location of the area being treated.
- We are often able to perform frameless Gamma Knife treatments, which provide significantly more comfort and convenience for patients.
Medical and Radiation Therapy
- Your neuro-oncology team at Valley may also recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
- All chemotherapy plans are customized to your specific disease; chemotherapy at Valley is given by chemotherapy-certified nurses.
- In addition to Gamma Knife radiosurgery, Valley offers other precision types of external beam radiation, including TomoTherapy and TrueBeam.
- A radiation oncologist will discuss with you the best options for your tumor’s size, stage and location.
- Often, your brain cancer symptoms can be managed through medications and complementary therapies.
- Valley offers Integrative Medicine services for pain control and emotional well-being during treatment, including guided imagery and therapeutic massage.
Why Choose Valley for Brain Tumor Treatment?
- Comprehensive, team approach: The neuro-oncology team comprises professionals from multiple departments and disciplines. United, our team can bring the best possible outcomes to our patients and heal the whole person — body, mind and spirit.
- Coordination of care: Each of our team members plays a role in shaping a patient’s treatment plan and keeping each other informed of your progress throughout treatment. This collaboration ensures our patients experience a smooth transition from one phase of care to the next, as well as the comfort of knowing that no stone is left unturned in their cancer battle.
- Nurse navigators: Valley offers nurse navigators to help you coordinate tests and provide emotional support.
- Gamma Knife radiosurgery: Also known as stereotactic radiosurgery, Gamma Knife radiosurgery offers improved patient outcomes vs. whole brain radiation. Gamma Knife minimizes memory loss and other side effects typically experienced with whole brain radiation. No other technology can treat brain tumors with the same clinical outcome and speed as the Gamma Knife Icon, the latest and most advanced Gamma Knife technology.
- Surgical excellence: Valley’s neurosurgery program has been awarded both the Five Star award for Cranial Neurosurgery and the Excellence award for Cranial Neurosurgery by Healthgrades.
- Clinical trials: We are proud to offer clinical trials for brain tumors. In addition to those at Valley, we can offer patients an even greater variety of trials through our partnership with Mount Sinai.