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Brain and spine cancer treatment and diagnosis

Brain and spine cancer treatment at GenesisCare

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

Signs and symptoms

What are the symptoms of brain & spine cancer?

  • 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.

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Treatments

Radiotherapy

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

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

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