Primary brain tumors are any type of tumor — cancerous or noncancerous — that begin in the brain.
Noncancerous (benign) primary brain tumors may occur in childhood and grow very slowly. Cancerous (malignant) tumors tend to grow rapidly and respond poorly to conventional cancer treatments. Both types can be life threatening and put pressure on brain structures that control vital body functions. Cancerous brain tumors can invade other parts of the central nervous system.
Have you noticed possible signs of a brain tumor? At Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California, our neurologists and cancer experts work together to provide our comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. Look to us to receive modern, complete care for primary brain tumors in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas. Find a Doctor near you and make an appointment.
Symptoms of Primary Brain Tumors
Common signs and symptoms of both benign or malignant primary brain tumors include:
- Problems with memory or other mental functions
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- Weakness, often in an arm or leg
- Nausea or vomiting
- Personality and behavior changes
- Problems with vision, hearing, speech, or swallowing
- Coordination problems
Causes of Primary Brain Tumors
A primary brain tumor can develop when a normal cell undergoes a change (mutation) in its DNA that makes the cell grow and multiply too fast. The primary tumor can start in different types of cells in the brain, including the meninges (the protective membrane covering the brain), brainstem, and endocrine glands within the brain. Brain tumor experts actively study what specific mutations trigger abnormal growth and what exactly causes the mutations to develop in the first place.
Factors that can increase your risk of a brain tumor include radiation therapy to treat previous brain cancer, even if you received treatment decades ago. A family history of certain genetic conditions or a weakened immune system can also make you more likely to develop a primary brain tumor.
Advanced Primary Brain Tumor Treatment at Dignity Health
Our trusted neurology and cancer specialists, as well as a nurse navigator, will clearly explain your treatment options and offer guidance and support.
The type, size, and location of the tumor play a big role in your treatment decisions. For any kind of primary brain tumor, surgery to remove it is usually the first choice for treatment. Surgery is often combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Benign primary brain tumors can often be successfully removed with surgery alone. If neurosurgeons cannot remove the entire tumor, or if it’s located deep within the brain, you may need chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Malignant primary brain tumors may spread to the spine or elsewhere in the brain. A combination of surgery and chemotherapy or radiation therapy can help reduce the size and slow the spread of malignant tumors. These treatments and other medications help relieve symptoms of brain tumors, including pain, seizures, and swelling in the brain. With skill and expertise, Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California treats benign and malignant primary brain tumors in the Sacramento region.