The idea you may have a brain tumor can certainly be unsettling – even terrifying. But every pain in your head doesn’t necessarily mean you have a life-threatening tumor.
As a renowned neurosurgeon and brain tumor specialist, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, understands the anxiety that unexplained symptoms can cause. That’s why Dr. Duma offers on-site testing technologies to determine whether or not your symptoms relate to a brain tumor, as well as comprehensive tumor treatment options.
What you should know about brain tumors
Brain tumors develop when groups of cells don’t grow and divide properly. These cells continue to grow to form the tumor. A tumor can either be benign or malignant.
Benign brain tumors
Benign tumors are noncancerous growths that tend to grow slowly and aren’t likely to spread to other areas of your body.
Malignant brain tumors
Malignant tumors are made up of groups of cancerous cells. This type of tumor can grow quickly and spread beyond your brain and spine. You may also have a malignant brain tumor that begins growing elsewhere and spreads into your brain, a type of tumor known as a secondary tumor.
Brain tumors are classed by the cells involved in their development. For instance, a glioma is a common type of brain tumor that begins in your brain or spinal cord. Gliomas include glioblastomas, ependymomas, and astrocytomas. A meningioma is a tumor that originates in the membranes that surround your spinal cord and brain.
Although there’s no clear understanding of what causes a brain tumor, there are risk factors that may increase your likelihood of developing a tumor. These risk factors include your age. Brain tumors are more common in older adults and in children, but a person of any age can still develop a tumor.
Other factors that contribute to brain tumors include:
- Being male
- Family history
- Exposure to toxins
- History of infections
- Previous treatment with radiation
If you have a history of a head injury or seizures, you may be more likely to develop a brain tumor than someone who doesn’t have that type of history.
Recognizing the signs of a brain tumor
True symptoms of a brain tumor can vary significantly from person-to-person. A brain tumor can cause symptoms like:
- Frequent headaches
- Unexplained nausea
- Blurred or double vision
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Loss of sensation in your arms or legs
- Confusion and personality changes
- Involuntary muscle contractions (dystonia)
Though any change in your physical or cognitive health can be startling, experiencing these symptoms doesn’t mean you have a tumor in your brain.
Because tumor symptoms also relate to many other underlying medical issues, it’s important that you schedule a diagnostic consultation with Dr. Duma to confirm or rule out a brain tumor as soon as possible.
The diagnostic process for brain tumors
If you have symptoms that may relate to a brain tumor, Dr. Duma offers specialized imaging tests on-site, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify tumors or other abnormalities.
Not all brain tumors cause symptoms. In fact, benign tumors are often discovered during a computed tomography (CT) scan or other imaging test when diagnosing other medical conditions.
Advanced treatments for brain tumors
If you do, in fact, have a brain tumor, Dr. Duma creates a treatment plan that focuses on resolving your symptoms and preventing the spread of cancer to other areas of your body. He specializes in Gamma Knife ® radiosurgery, a technology that allows him to remove the tumor on even the most sensitive areas of your brain with the highest level of precision.
Immunotherapy is also an available treatment option for brain tumors. Dr. Duma uses this therapy to boost your body’s immune system to fight off cancer and help you achieve long-term remission.
Don’t put off a diagnostic evaluation for symptoms of a brain tumor. Call the office of Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, or request an appointment using the online booking system today.