Brain Tumor Treatment in Staten Island, NY
Brain tumors can arise for a variety of reasons, and many of them can be noncancerous. When a patient is diagnosed with a brain tumor, they must understand their treatment options. Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island, NY, is dedicated to serving the community with quality, efficient oncology services and other healthcare services. Learn more about brain tumors and the types of treatments offered at Richmond University Medical Center.
What Is a Brain Tumor?
A brain tumor is any unusual growth that can impact essential brain structures, like tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. It forms through the presence of cancerous or defective cells in the brain, which can grow and multiply. As the cells continue to fester and populate, they create a large mass called a tumor. Patients can inherit cancerous or defective cells from their parents. But sometimes, babies are born with abnormal cells for no apparent reason.
Depending on where the tumors grow, they can affect many different brain systems. This is because the skull is a durable bone in the body, meaning it cannot stretch to make room for essential brain systems and proper function as cells grow out of control. Instead, the tumor pushes against these brain systems, causing unusual symptoms like:
- Impaired speech
- Difficulty thinking
- Memory problems
- Trouble understanding language
- Balance or walking issues
- Vomiting or nausea
- Changes in personality
- Tingling or numbness in the face
- Impaired vision
- Paralysis on one side of the body
- Hearing problems
Some patients may have brain tumors but no symptoms. This can mean the tumor has not yet developed to a size that affects brain systems. However, brain tumors can also lead to more serious problems, such as brain bleeding or excess fluid in the brain. They can also restrict how cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) moves throughout the body. Because CSF transports through the empty spaces in the brain, intense pressure from tumors can block these spaces and prevent CSF from flowing properly.
Brain tumors can arise in patients at any age, from children to adults, but they most commonly affect male patients. Brain tumors can also vary in how quickly they grow. For example, some patients may have slow-growing tumors that only require monitoring and management. Others may have tumors that grow fast and worsen quickly. Regardless, it is essential to seek the right medical treatment. This is because all tumors can eventually become enlarged and alter brain function. Getting early diagnosis and treatment can help smooth the recovery process, improve symptoms, and increase the chances that removal and shrinking of the tumor is successful.
Types of Brain Tumors Treated By Surgery
Some tumors in the brain are categorized as primary tumors. This means tumor growth begins in the brain. Primary tumors are a less common type of brain tumor. Other tumors can be metastatic, which are tumors that grow in other parts of the body but have spread to the brain.
Brain tumors can also be either benign or malignant. This means if a physician discovers a lump in the brain, it does not always mean the patient has cancer.
There are several varieties of brain tumors:
Gliomas occur when cell growth in glial cells becomes abnormal and out of control. This type of brain tumor can be either malignant or benign. Gliomas can grow on the brain and brain systems, as well as the spinal cord.
Skull Base Tumors
Skull base tumors (also called medulloblastomas) are cancerous brain tumors that grow at the base of the skull. These kinds of tumors typically rapidly increase in size and can be most commonly found in children.
A meningioma is a benign brain tumor that develops in the meninges, which are layers of brain tissue that cushion the brain and spinal cord. When a tumor arises in this area, it is typically slow-growing. This is the most common brain tumor. Unlike most brain tumors, meningiomas are more common among female patients.
Procedures Offered at RUMC
With technological advancements in the healthcare industry, physicians can treat brain tumor symptoms and help patients achieve successful recovery. However, the type of treatment a patient receives is determined by looking at their condition, the size of the tumor, and the tumor location. Patients who visit Richmond University Medical Center for their brain tumor treatment can discuss their care plan and options with their physician.
For diagnosis, physicians first conduct a physical exam to assess the patient’s symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history. Next, they complete a neurological exam to explore changes in reflexes, balance, vision, coordination, and other behaviors. After finishing the exams, physicians may require that patients complete certain imaging tests of the brain, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans. From there, they can determine the location and size of the tumor. Following diagnosis, physicians can set up a care plan.
If the tumor is small and no symptoms are present, many physicians choose to simply monitor the patient’s condition over time to ensure the mass does not grow bigger. If a tumor is larger, patients may need surgery to have it removed and biopsied. Richmond University Medical Center has a Brain and Spine Center that specializes in treating brain tumors, as well as other brain disorders, spine disorders, and nervous system disorders. The team has the knowledge and resources to complete many surgical procedures for brain tumors, including:
A craniotomy is a neurological procedure that involves opening the skull to directly expose the brain. Surgeons remove the top portion of the skull to access the tumor fully. They then work to remove the tumor from the brain, tissues, and other brain systems. Depending on the area in which the tumor grows, some craniotomies may be performed while the patient is awake – although they do not feel pain. This allows surgeons to ensure they are not harming important brain functions during surgery.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a tumor treatment that combines traditional surgery methods with radiation therapy. Unlike traditional surgeries, surgeons do not need to make an incision to complete treatment. Instead, high-energy, focused radiation beams are shot at the tumor through the skin.
Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery
If a brain tumor is in an area that is easy to access from natural body crevices, surgeons can complete minimally invasive brain surgery. This is an ideal treatment option for those diagnosed with skull base tumors. During the procedure, surgeons use advanced tools to remove tumors from the brain through the nose or other natural crevices. Surgeons insert specialized tools as well as a camera to see the tumor and brain structures.
Once benign tumors are removed, the patient typically needs no further treatment. But with malignant tumors, other treatment efforts may be necessary to kill off remaining cancerous cells. The team of physicians at Richmond University Medical Center takes the time to explain and educate each patient on the treatments provided for their condition, allowing them to make the best decision for their medical care. With access to some of the most advanced tools and technologies, patients can receive efficient, comprehensive, and compassionate brain tumor surgery and other medical care.
Other Brain Tumor Treatments
If a patient requires oncology services or surgery did not work to remove the entire tumor, other brain tumor treatments may be required, such as:
Chemotherapy is a more traditional method of treatment for cancerous brain tumors. Here, surgeons inject medications that target and attack cancerous cells within the body. The medications are administered through a pill or intravenously (IV). Chemotherapy can be used after surgery to shrink remaining tumors and eliminate cancerous cells.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams of radiation to target, attack, and shrink tumors within the brain. This can be an ideal treatment method for those with tumors in difficult-to-reach areas of the brain, or it can be used alongside surgery or chemotherapy to reduce cancerous cells in the body.
Immunotherapy is a treatment method that works to enhance the immune system by delivering certain medications. These medications are designed to boost a patient’s immune system function. In turn, this can potentially assist the body in killing off cancerous cells.
Targeted therapy is designed to directly attack cancerous cells without harming healthy ones. It uses medications that effectively hunt out cancerous cells within the body. Not only can this be a great alternative to chemotherapy, but it can also help maintain healthy body systems to make recovery easier.
Brain Tumor Treatment at Richmond University Medical Center
Treatment for brain tumors and other neurological conditions is available at Richmond University Medical Center. Serving the Staten Island area with medical care and treatment for brain tumors, spine disorders, and a variety of other conditions, we have the tools and experience to answer patient questions and concerns. To learn more about brain tumor treatment, surgery, and other services we offer at our locations on Staten Island, contact us today or make an appointment.