Cancer cells can spread, or metastasize, from the original tumor site. Brain metastases are the most common type of brain cancer.

In most cases of metastatic brain cancer, the cancer started in the lungs. However, cancer can also spread to the brain from other parts of the body, such as the breasts, skin, colon, kidneys and pancreas.

Metastatic Brain Cancer Symptoms

As brain metastases grow, they can press against, displace or destroy brain tissue. This can cause symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Movement issues
  • Paralysis
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulties with cognitive function (memory, talking, etc.)

Some people, however, have no symptoms.

Metastatic Brain Cancer Treatment at Valley

Your treatment will be determined by several factors including the size, location and type of tumor, as well as your overall health.

Surgery 

  • Our goal for metastatic brain cancer is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving your quality of life and critical brain functions.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery 

  • For many years, whole brain radiation therapy has been used to treat brain metastases; however, research suggests this approach can result in decreased overall brain function in patients after treatment.
  • At Valley, we use Gamma Knife radiosurgery, also known as stereotactic radiosurgery, instead for select patients.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery uses precisely targeted beams of radiation to treat individual tumors in a single outpatient session.

Radiation Therapy and/or Chemotherapy

  • Your team at Valley may also recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
  • Your chemotherapy plan will be tailored to your needs; all chemotherapy at Valley is given by chemotherapy-certified nurses.
  • In addition to Gamma Knife, Valley offers other precision radiation therapy, including TomoTherapy and TrueBeam.
  • Our radiation oncologist will discuss with you the best options for your tumor’s size, stage and location.

Complementary Therapy

  • Often, metastatic 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 Metastatic Brain Tumors?

  • Surgical excellence: Valley’s neurosurgery program has been awarded Healthgrades’ Five Star award for Cranial Neurosurgery and the Excellence award for Cranial Neurosurgery.
  • Multidisciplinary evaluation: Each patient will receive a comprehensive evaluation, including having a brain function evaluation and meeting with a neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist.
  • State-of-the-art technology: Our goal is to treat brain metastases in a way that minimizes deficits in your brain function while maximizing your quality of life. That includes using the Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery system to treat appropriate brain metastases.
  • Access: We strive to make accessing our services an efficient, streamlined process. We achieve this through a single access telephone number (listed at the top of this page) staffed by caring and well-trained individuals.
  • Comprehensive, supportive services: Our comprehensive services include:
    • Neuro ICU: Valley’s neurointensive care unit offers specialized care for patients who have undergone neurosurgery.
    • Physical therapy: Physical therapists help patients regain movement, function and control after cancer treatment.
    • Pain management: Valley’s pain management program helps patients control and minimize cancer pain.

Support services: Supportive services at Valley help patients address the emotional, physical and mental aspects of metastatic cancer.