Brain cancer is a growth or mass of abnormal cells inside or near your brain. Brain cancer can begin in the brain or spread (metastasize) to the brain from other parts of your body. Some tumors are benign or non-cancerous, while others are malignant. Depending on the size and location of your tumor, the rates of growth and how it affects your nervous system can vary greatly.
Spine cancer occurs with an abnormal growth of cells either in the bones of your spine or in the spinal cord or spinal cord covering. Tumors of the spine may spread there from other parts of the body and can include a range of neurological symptoms, including paralysis.
Other than exposure to radiation, there are no specific known causes of brain and spine cancer, so prevention isn’t an area of concern. Depending on the type of tumor, its size and location, your treatment and outcome options will vary. Knowing the persistent signs and symptoms that signal you need to see a doctor can be the key to better management and survival.
Because of their complex and varied nature, there are no early screenings or detection programs for brain or spinal cancer. If you’re diagnosed with a separate kind of cancer, testing to ensure it hasn’t spread to the brain or spine will be a regular part of your treatment. If you have certain inherited syndromes such as neurofibromatosis or tuberous sclerosis you might be at increased risk of developing brain or spinal tumors, and your doctor will generally recommend regular tests and screenings for early detection.
Not all brain and spinal tumors are malignant, but if you’re diagnosed you can rest easy knowing you have some of the Commonwealth’s best experts by your side. Our dedicated care team, including neuro and radiation oncologists, surgeons, specially trained nurses, physical therapists and more—work closely to create a personalized cancer treatment plan. If radiation therapy is an option, we leverage the latest technology advances, including robotic laser therapy, to target tumors with unmatched precision.
Throughout your journey, you’ll find a variety of cancer support services to meet your physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. We’ll help you coordinate your care, connect you to valuable resources and provide extra comfort and support at every step.