Metastatic brain tumours
or tumours that have spread via another body part.
Find out more about metastatic brain tumours, or tumours that have spread from another body part to your brain.
Metastatic brain tumours key points
- Half of all the brain tumours are metastatic, meaning that they have spread from another body part via the bloodstream to the brain
- Headaches, stroke-like symptoms and seizures are the 3 most common symptoms caused by brain tumour.
- Depending on the type of cancer, you will undergo either brain tumour surgery, drug treatment and/or radiotherapy, or a combination of those three.
Metastasis | Brain tumour surgery Brisbane
What is it?
Metastases are the most common type of brain tumours in adults. 50% of all tumours that occur in the brain are metastatic.
Metastatic’ means that a cancer has spread from another body part via the bloodstream to the brain. It is also called a ‘secondary’. This is very different from a primary brain tumour which originates within the brain itself.
In reality it is actually quite rare for cancer to spread to the brain. For example in only about 15% of women with breast cancer will the tumour spread to the brain. The numbers vary for the different cancers that spread to the brain.
The cancers that do spread to the brain include breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, kidney cancer and gut cancer. In contrast however, prostate cancer almost never spreads to the brain.
Common brain tumours
Is it common, do other people get it?
Brain tumour symptoms
What are the symptoms?
Brain tumour surgery Brisbane
How is it treated?
Do I need surgery when I have a metastatic brain tumour?
There are 3 reasons that surgery is required.
- To get a diagnosis.
It is virtually impossible to know 100% what type of cancer something is just by looking at the scans. The only way to be 100% is to get some samples and send it to the laboratory where they can do a series of tests on it and get the answer once and for all. So sometimes it is necessary to do a brain operation just to get some samples.
- To relieve symptoms of pressure.
By reducing the size of the tumour it is possible to significantly improve your symptoms like headache. If the tumour is causing stroke-like symptoms then it may also be possible to improve this by removing as much of the tumour as it is safe to do so. So this is all about improving your quality of life.
This means length of life. Sometimes, by removing most or all of the tumour your overall prognosis gets a little bit better. Furthermore, by removing it, it will make the effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy more positive.
You will notice I’ve said “remove most of the tumour.” You may wonder why the whole tumour isn’t always removed, after all that would make sense, wouldn’t it? Well, in an ideal world, yes. And in the lung, the bowel or the skin for example, this can be done. But in the brain you can’t. It isn’t always possible to remove everything because it may risk vital parts of the brain that are next to, or surrounding the tumour.
Does the treatment work?
Brain tumour operation risks
Is this treatment safe?
Brain surgeon Brisbane
What should I do now?
Ready to make an appointment?
Ramsay Specialist Centre
Greenslopes QLD 4120
(07) 3397 4185