Expert Care for Brain Tumors

Brain Tumor Care

Brain tumors are a rare condition, affecting only about 80,000 people a year in the United States. Two out of every three brain tumors diagnosed are non-cancerous. Many of these will cause no or few symptoms and patients live with them for years, particularly if they are slow growing.

The most dangerous types of brain tumors are cancerous. These tumors can originate in the brain, such as glioblastomas, or they can form when cancer in another part of the body has spread to the brain. In these cases, Penn Highlands neurosurgeons work closely with your cancer team to develop the treatment plan.

Treatment for malignant brain tumors may include chemotherapy or radiation therapy, most often used to shrink the brain tumor prior to surgery. These treatments also may be used if the tumor is hard to reach with surgery or surgery would endanger the brain or a vital organ such as the eye.

In addition to surgery, Penn Highlands neurosurgeons also use stereotactic radiosurgery. Despite its name, this treatment is not surgery. Instead, it uses high-intensity radiation beams to target and destroy the tumor. This is most often used when brain tumors are small.

Types of Brain Tumors We Treat

Penn Highlands neurosurgeons have decades of experience treating all types of brain tumors, including:

  • Metastatic Brain Tumors: These secondary brain tumors are caused when a primary cancer in another part of the body spreads (metastasizes) to the brain. Breast cancer and melanoma are two common cancer types that spread to the brain.
  • Primary Brain Tumors: Also called malignant brain tumors, these tumors develop from brain tissue and are most often cancerous. The most common type of malignant brain tumor is glioma. Gliomas arise from glia cells, which are the supportive cells in the brain.
  • Meningioma Brain Tumors: These tumors form on the membranes (meninges) that cover the brain and spinal cord just inside the skull. While meningiomas are typically non-cancerous, they can cause problems if they grow so many patients choose to have them treated rather than needing to get regular images of their brain.
  • Acoustic Neuromas: Also called vestibular schwannoma, the non-cancerous tumors develop on the nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain. They can cause hearing loss, dizziness, and ringing in the ears if not treated.
  • Pituitary Tumors: The pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland in the center of the brain behind the nose. The pituitary gland is responsible for producing most hormones in your body. Pituitary gland tumors can interfere with normal hormone production and can cause vision problems. Most pituitary gland tumors are not cancerous and are curable.

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