Cyberknife ārstēšana

Brain tumor treatment

 

There are more than 40 different types of brain tumors, but there are two groups in neuro-oncology – benign and malignant. Benign tumours grow slowly and are unlikely to spread. Most common types of benign cancers are meningiomas, neuromas and pituitary tumours, as well as craniopharyngiomas. Malignant tumours are cancerous, and they can spread to other parts of the brain or spinal cord. Most known malignant tumours are astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, glioblastomas and mixed gliomas. In this page we will take a look into most known benign brain tumours. It is important to recognise the first signs of a possible brain tumour in order to take an immediate action if needed, therefore we have included a short overview of tumour symptoms, too.

Are you diagnosed with brain tumor?

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Cyberknife treatment for brain tumors

Cyberknife is a new brain tumour treatment that can be helpful for different types of brain tumours, for example:

  • Acoustic neuroma;
  • Meningioma;
  • Brain metastases;
  • Angioma;
  • Pituitary adenoma;
  • Glioma.

Radiosurgery is a method of radiation therapy when CyberKnife device is applied, which allows delivering a large dose of rays very precisely and directly to the tissues affected by the disease without affecting or damaging healthy tissues and cells.

Tumour growth is stopped and/or its cells are destroyed during the procedure. It is important to discover the tumour as soon as possible – when the first signs appear. Symptoms and complaints depend on the tumour localisation in the brain.

Compared to chemo treatment for brain cancer, Cyberknife doesn’t require hospitalization, and there is also no need for a subsequent cure or rehabilitation time. Other advantages also include:

  • Possibility to cure inoperable tumors;
  • Comfort during the procedure;
  • You can go home the same day;
  • Minimal risk of complications.

Cyberknife can also be used for other cancers in the lungs, spine, liver, kidneys and prostate. Tumours should be clearly definable and not too big (depending on the organ system).

 

What is acoustic neuroma?

Acoustic neuroma (AN) is a brain tumour – primary tumour that does not form secondary growths, also known as metastases. Although it does not transform into cancer and is not contagious, it is still a tumour in the brain and if it goes undetected and untreated it can lead to life threatening medical conditions. This mainly affects the nerve fibers of the auditory and vestibular nerve, which establish the connection between the inner ear and the brain.

Signs of acoustic neuroma

The most common signs of an acoustic neuroma include:

  • Hearing deficiency and acute hearing loss;
  • Dizziness (vertigo), may be associated with nausea and balance disorders;
  • Tinnitus (subjectively perceived noise, ringing or whistling in the ears) – occurs in approximately 80% of cases.

The rare and non-specific symptoms include:

  • Restriction of speech perception;
  • Headache, especially in the morning after wake up, when coughing, sneezing and vomiting;
  • Paralysis of the facial muscles and around the ears.

The symptoms can vary and depend on the size of the tumor and the affected cranial nerve.

Treatment options

Usually there are three approaches – one of them is Cyberknife treatment, which is considered as the best and safest treatment option because it is painless and does not include surgical intervention. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses radiation that is delivered to a precise point or series of points to maximize the amount of radiation delivered to target tissues while minimizing the exposure of normal tissues. It can be delivered as a single dose or as multiple fractionated doses.

What is meningioma?

Meningioma is a tumor that arises from the meninges — the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Technically it is not a brain tumor, but it is included in the category because it may compress or squeeze the adjacent brain, nerves and vessels. Meningioma is the most common type of benign tumor that forms in the head. Most meningiomas grow very slowly, often over many years without causing symptoms. But in some instances, their effects on the brain tissue, nerves or vessels may cause serious disabilties.

Signs of meningioma

Meningiomas usually grow slowly, and can grow rather large in size before interfering with the normal functions of the brain. Signs and symptoms of a meningioma typically occur gradually and may be very subtle at first. The clinical symptoms depend on the localization and related compressions.

Depending on where in the brain or, rarely, spine the tumor is situated, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Changes in vision (seeing double or blurriness);
  • Headaches that become worse with time;
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears;
  • Memory loss;
  • Loss of smell;
  • Seizures;
  • Weakness in your arms or legs.

Due to their slow growth and adaptability of the brain, meningiomas can achieve a certain size before their symptoms can be noticed.

Treatment options

Radiosurgical treatment with Cyberknife can be used as the primary therapy for small, difficult to remove tumors. In most cases a precise radiotherapy achieves a high tumor control.

What is pituitary tumor?

Pituitary tumor (pituitary adenoma) starts in the pituitary gland – a small gland inside the skull just below the brain and above the nasal passages, above the back part of the roof of the mouth. The pituitary gland hormones control many other glands in the body. Pituitary tumors are considered benign because they don’t spread to other parts of the body, like cancers can do. Still, even benign pituitary tumors can cause significant health problems because of their near location to the brain and because many of them secrete excess hormones.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms often depend on whether the tumor is functional (releases excess hormones) or non-functional (does not release excess hormones).

Signs and symptoms of a non-functioning pituitary tumor

Sometimes, a pituitary tumor may press on or damage parts of the pituitary gland, causing it to stop making one or more hormones. Too little of a certain hormone will affect the work of the gland or organ that the hormone controls. The following signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Headache;
  • Some loss of vision;
  • Loss of body hair;
  • In women, less frequent or no menstrual periods or no milk from the breasts;
  • In men, loss of facial hair, growth of breast tissue, and impotence;
  • In children, slowed growth and sexual development.

Signs and symptoms of a functioning pituitary tumor

When a functioning pituitary tumor makes extra hormones, the signs and symptoms will depend on the type of hormone being secreted.

Too much prolactin (a hormone that causes a woman’s breasts to make milk during and after pregnancy) may cause:

  • Headache;
  • Some loss of vision;
  • Less frequent or no menstrual periods or menstrual periods with a very light flow;
  • Trouble becoming pregnant or inability to become pregnant;
  • Lower sex drive;
  • Flow of breast milk in a woman who is not pregnant or breastfeeding.

Too much ACTH (hormone that causes the adrenal glands to make hormone cortisol – controls the use of sugar, protein, fats, helps body deal with stress) may cause:

  • Headache;
  • Some loss of vision;
  • Weight gain in the face, neck, and trunk of the body, and thin arms and legs;
  • A lump of fat on the back of the neck;
  • Thin skin that may have purple or pink stretch marks on the chest or abdomen;
  • Easy bruising;
  • Growth of fine hair on the face, upper back, or arms;
  • Bones that break easily;
  • Anxiety, irritability, and depression.

Too much growth hormone (controls body growth) may cause:

  • Headache;
  • Some loss of vision;
  • In adults, acromegaly (growth of the bones in the face, hands, and feet);
  • In children, the whole body may grow much taller and larger than normal;
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers;
  • Snoring or pauses in breathing during sleep;
  • Joint pain;
  • Sweating more than usual;
  • Dysmorphophobia (extreme dislike of or concern about one or more parts of the body).

Too much thyroid-stimulating hormone (body temperature, heart rate control) may cause:

  • Irregular heartbeat;
  • Shakiness;
  • Weight loss;
  • Trouble sleeping;
  • Frequent bowel movements;
  • Sweating.