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Brain Tumors


A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain. A brain tumor can either be benign meaning it is noncancerous or it can be malignant meaning the tumor is cancerous. There are many types of brain tumors. Primary tumors begin in the brain and secondary or metastatic tumors are from cancer in other parts of the body that has spread. Diagnosis and treatment options are dependent on the type, size and location of the tumor.

Dignity Health’s Neurological and Cancer Institutes in the Greater Sacramento region partner to offer referring physicians and patients a comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. From initial diagnosis to multiple treatment modalities including tumor resection, stereotactic radiosurgery, and whole brain radiation, our specialists offer the full continuum of care.

Symptoms of a Brain Tumor

Brain tumors present different symptoms depending on where on the brain the tumor is located as well as the size and type of tumor. The common symptoms listed below are also common symptoms of various other conditions. Someone experiencing these symptoms likely does not have a brain tumor, but is experiencing another condition. Regardless, if you are experiencing these symptoms, tell your doctor so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated. Symptoms of brain tumors include:

  • Headaches that don't respond to headache remedies
  • Seizures
  • Changes in speech or hearing
  • Changes in vision
  • Balance problems
  • Problems with walking
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Problems with memory
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Weakness in one part of the body
  • Seizures

Diagnosing a Brain Tumors

Brain tumors generally aren't diagnosed until after symptoms have presented themselves. There are a number of tests and procedures used to help diagnose different types of brain tumors including:

  • A neurological exam
  • Imaging tests including MRI, CT and PET scans
  • Tests to find cancer in other parts of your body
  • Biopsy to collect and test a sample of abnormal tissue

Treatments for Brain Tumors

Treatment options for brain tumors vary depending on the type and size of the tumor as well as where in the brain the tumor is located. Treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiosurgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy

After treatment rehabilitation may be necessary and your doctor may refer you to services such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Tutoring for school-age children

For assistance with a physician referral, call 1-888-800-7688. To request additional information from someone at the Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California, email us today.