Brain and spine cancer

 

What is a brain tumour?

Brain tumours are lumps of abnormal cells that have formed in the brain. If a tumour starts in the brain, it’s a primary tumour. If it has spread from another place in the body, it’s a secondary tumour or brain metastasis. These tumours don’t often spread to other parts of the body.

As a brain tumour grows it takes up more space, increasing pressure in the skull and causing symptoms. Most tumours affect one side of the body more than the other.
 

Cranial nerves

The cranial nerves extend directly out of the base of the brain.

Tumours starting in cranial nerves can cause:
• Vision problems
• Trouble swallowing
• Hearing loss in one or both ears
• Facial paralysis, numbness, or pain

 

Spinal cord tumours

The spinal cord has bundles of very long nerve fibres. They carry signals that control muscles, sensation or feeling, and bladder and bowel control.

• Most spinal cord tumours start in the neck and can cause symptoms in the arms and legs, as well as affecting bowel and bladder function
• Spinal cord tumours below the neck only affect the legs and bowel and bladder function
• Spinal cord tumours usually cause symptoms on both sides of the body (for example, weakness or numbness of both legs). This is different from most brain tumours, which often affect only one side of the body
• Spinal cord tumours can cause weakness, paralysis, or numbness

Leonie's battle with brain cancer

Common brain tumour symptoms

Headaches

Tiredness

Feeling sick

Vomiting

Changes to vision, speech and hearing

Fits

The exact location of the tumour in the brain influences the kind of symptoms you may have. But these symptoms could also be caused by other medical conditions.

Treatments we cover

Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UA

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton, West Midlands, Coldfield B74 3BF

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Nottingham

The Park Cancer Centre, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Notthingham, NG5 8RX

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Bartons Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 5NA

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Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3XL

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Southampton

Southampton Centre, Chalybeate Close (off Tremona Road), Southampton, SO16 6UY

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Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7GU

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Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SZ

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Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 6LB

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Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, BuckinghamShire, MK14 6LS

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Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7XN

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Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3HD

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