Metastatic Brain Tumors
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, metastatic brain tumors (secondary brain tumors) are the most common types of brain tumors among adults. These tumors, which are malignant, originate from cancers elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain, usually migrating through the blood stream.
The neurosurgeons at the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program collaborate with other specialties throughout Mount Sinai to recommend treatment options that work well within the scope of their comprehensive cancer care plan.
Common Types of Metastatic Brain Tumors
Most metastatic brain tumors are found incidentally through routine monitoring using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They develop from other cancers in the body, most commonly from:
They can grow in any region of the brain, although less frequently in the back of the skull.
Patients with a metastatic brain tumor can have a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the size and location of the tumor. These symptoms can include:
- Headaches, including migraines
- Overall weakness
- Personality changes
- Seizures (although more common in low-grade gliomas)
- Sensory loss
- Visual changes
Treatment for Metastatic Brain Tumors
“As advances in chemotherapy prolong the life of cancer patients, the rate of secondary tumors has increased because the tumors are given more time to migrate to the brain,” said Raymond Yong, MD, neurosurgeon and Director of Outreach for the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at Mount Sinai.
In collaboration with oncologists at the Ruttenberg Treatment Center, our neurosurgeons work to coordinate care for patients with metastatic brain tumors. The approach is aimed to improve the quality of life of the patient during treatment for disease.
Often, the team will recommend treatments such as:
- Chemotherapy, delivered directly into the spinal fluid
- Chemotherapy (into a vein)
- Stereotactic radiation therapy
A combination of therapies might also be recommended, depending on the aggressiveness of the tumor.
In addition to the treatments recommended by the care team, therapies can be augmented with support from social workers and physical and occupational therapists who are very familiar with the unique need of brain cancer patients.
Mount Sinai also offers palliative care options should they need to be explored at any time during the course of treatment.
Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program
5 East 98th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10029