While brain cancer is virtually immune to factors such as smoking, age or gender, most cases of brain cancer come from genetic abnormalities that are unrelated to a person's actions or environmental exposure. However, there are a few risk factors associated with brain cancer:
- Exposure to radiation
- Immune system disorders
- Family history including the following: Neurofibromatosis Type 2, Tuberous Sclerosis, Von Hippel-Lindau disease
Symptoms for cancer or brain tumors can appear over time or suddenly. There are both general and specific symptoms that may include:
- Pressure inside the skull
- Weakness, numbness or unusual sensation to body parts
- Headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision
- Excessive sleepiness or coma
- Difficulties with speech or walking
- Coordination and trouble doing usual tasks
- Change in thinking and personality
GAMC provides patients suspected of having a brain or central nervous system (CNS) tumor with the benefit of several pre-treatment/screening options. Most methods involve some form of imaging studies and may include one or more of the following:
- Medical History Evaluation
- Physical and/or Neurological Exam
- Chest X-ray
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Uses radio waves and magnets to locate tumors
- Computed Tomography (CT) - Takes detailed images of the body using x-rays
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - Maps the brain and locates a tumor using radioactive sugar
- PET/CT - Combines the benefits of both PET and CT scanning into one convenient procedure
- Angiography - Identifies the blood flowing from the heart to the brain
With brain cancer, factors such as age, type of tumor, and tumor location determine treatment options and prognosis. Because of the wide range of services available, GAMC offers patients the ability to meet with a multi-disciplinary team of physicians.
Meeting with specialists in radiation oncology, oncology and neurology allows patients to gain valuable insight and decide the treatment that works best for them. Procedures performed at GAMC to combat brain cancer include:
- Radiation Therapy - Uses specialized technology like the LINAC-based Stereotactic Radiosurgery to deliver focused, high-dose radiation to precise areas of the brain. Conventional external beam radiation is also available.
GAMC helps make sure you receive not only treatment for the disease, but also for you as a person. That's why the GAMC Cancer Center also offers a brain tumor support group for individuals with primary brain tumors or brain metastases and their families.
For more information about cancer, screenings and treatment options at GAMC, call (818) 409-8100.