Brain Tumors 

A brain tumor is a mass of unnecessary cells growing in the brain.

Symptoms can include:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Changes in ability to think and learn
  • New seizures
  • Speech difficulty of gradual onset

Tumors can be primary, meaning they started in the brain, or metastatic, meaning the tumor began as cancer elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. A benign (non-cancerous) tumor is very slow-growing and rarely spreads. A malignant (cancerous) tumor is usually rapid-growing and invasive.

SSM Health Neurosciences offers a variety of advanced diagnostic tools to help pinpoint the tumor, determine whether it is growing in size, guide tissue biopsies or remove tumors, and detect recurring brain tumors.

Treatment Options

New and sophisticated techniques have led to advances in the treatment of brain tumors. Tumors that were once inoperable in the brain stem or thalamus can now be accessed and removed, sometimes completely, and often without impaired neurological function.

The standard treatments for brain tumors are surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. In general, radiation and chemotherapy treatments are used as secondary treatments for tumors that cannot be managed using only surgery.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a treatment option that delivers a high concentration of radiation directly to the tumor in order to stop its growth, while delivering only a minimal dose of radiation to the surrounding tissue. The procedure offers new hope to patients, especially those with previously inoperable or hard-to-reach tumors.  

The CyberKnife® Radiosurgery System at the SSM Health Neurosciences offers pin-point precision with the use of intelligent robotics. Because radiosurgery has such a dramatic effect, the changes are considered “surgical,” although no incision is used. This means no blood loss, no anesthesia and fewer complications than traditional surgery.