Being diagnosed with a brain tumor can be very alarming. That’s why you need compassionate, high-quality health care. Our skilled neurological experts at St. Joseph’s Hospital provide excellent care to achieve the best possible outcome for our patients.
Learn more about the St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute, our partner in caring for brain tumors.
What is a Brain Tumor?
A brain tumor is tissue that grows abnormally inside the brain. A brain tumor may be benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous. Tumors may originate in the brain (primary) or spread (secondary) to the brain from elsewhere in the body.
Because the brain is inside a rigid, enclosed space, any growth can create pressure inside the skull. If left untreated, even benign tumors can cause other health problems, including blindness, hearing loss and vision problems.
What Causes a Brain Tumor?
In many cases, the causes of brain tumors are unknown. Some known risk factors include:
- Previous history of cancer (personal or family)
- Genetic conditions
- Exposure to radiation
Symptoms of a Brain Tumor
Symptoms of brain tumors vary depending on the type of tumor and where it is in the brain. Common symptoms include:
- Recurring headaches
- Seizure, especially in adults
- Blurred or double vision
- Changes in mental function, such as memory loss, confusion or decreased alertness
- Difficulty hearing, taste, vision or smell
- Problems with movement, including coordination, tremors or balance
How is a Brain Tumor Diagnosed?
To diagnose a brain tumor, your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam with detailed neurological testing. You may need further tests, including:
- MRI or CT scans: Imaging test that takes pictures of your brain tissue and arteries to look for tumors
- Cerebral angiogram: Test that uses X-rays and special dye to evaluate the blood flow to the tumor
- X-rays: Imaging test that checks for changes within the skull and calcium deposits in tumors
- Biopsy: Procedure that takes a tissue sample of the tumor to be tested for signs of cancer
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): Test that evaluates your brain’s electrical activity to detect tumors
Treatments for a Brain Tumor
At St. Joseph’s Hospital, we develop a treatment plan that may include surgery or other treatment options:
- Resection: Procedure that removes the tumor
- Stereotactic radiosurgery: Radiation therapy that targets the tumor and minimizes damage to nearby, healthy tissue
- Radiation therapy: Procedure used either with or without surgery to shrink tumors or stop their growth
- Chemotherapy: Drugs that destroy cancer cells (used for some types of cancerous brain tumors)
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy: Rehabilitation treatment to help patients recover after surgery
Learn more about our treatments in the Neurosurgery Program at St. Joseph’s.
For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.