A brain or spinal tumor can develop when cells grow abnormally in the skull or the spinal cord. Tumors can either be benign, meaning non-cancerous, or malignant, meaning cancerous. Both benign and malignant tumors can affect the brain and spinal cord by putting too much pressure on delicate tissues.
Symptoms of Brain Cancer, Brain Tumor and Spinal Tumors
Brain tumors can cause problems ranging from headaches and nausea to balance, coordination and cognitive difficulties. Spinal cord tumors can cause pain and sensory and motor difficulties. These tumors can also grow and spread, causing life-threatening complications.
People with a brain tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs.
Symptoms of a brain cancer or brain tumor can be general or specific. A general symptom is caused by the pressure of the tumor on the brain or spinal cord. Specific symptoms are caused when a specific part of the brain is not working normally because of the tumor.
General symptoms include:
- Headaches, particularly in the morning hours
- Personality or memory changes
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms that may be specific to the location of the tumor include:
- Pressure or headache near the tumor
- Loss of balance and difficulty with fine motor skills
- Changes in judgment, including loss of initiative, sluggishness, and muscle weakness or paralysis
- Partial or complete loss of vision
- Changes in speech, hearing, memory, or emotional state, such as aggressiveness and problems understanding or retrieving words
- Altered perception of touch or pressure, arm or leg weakness on one side of the body, or confusion with left and right sides of the body
- Inability to look upward
- Difficulty swallowing, facial weakness or numbness, or double vision
- Vision changes, including loss of part of the vision or double vision
If a brain tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your care and treatment.
Treating Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors with CyberKnife Radiation
CyberKnife is one of the most advanced methods of using radiation to destroy and kill cancerous cells in the brain and spinal cord. Using computers, cameras and imaging tools, CyberKnife identifies the exact location of a brain or spinal cord tumor. It uses this information to focus radiation beams precisely on the tumor-and not on any surrounding healthy tissue.
Less advanced techniques require patients to wear uncomfortable and invasive head frames during procedures and affect non-cancerous tissue.
Benefits of CyberKnife Technology
The benefits of CyberKnife technology for brain and spinal tumors include:
- No need for patients to wear uncomfortable and invasive head frame during procedure
- Relatively safe
- Painless and non-invasive
- Highly accurate
- Gives patients an alternative to major surgery
- Allows patients to return home and to regular routine immediately afterward
Preparing for CyberKnife Treatment
Learn more about preparing for CyberKnife treatment.
During CyberKnife Treatment
During the treatment, all you will have to do is lie still on a table wearing your custom-fitted mask. A robotic arm will move around your body delivering radiation beams to your tumor. You should not feel any discomfort, and nothing will touch you directly.
After CyberKnife Treatment
Most brain and spinal cancer patients will receive five CyberKnife treatments over the course of a week. After treatment, you should be able to return to your normal daily activities. You may experience some fatigue following the procedure, but that is generally rare.