A metastatic brain tumor is a cancer that started in another part of the body and has spread to the brain.
Many tumor or cancer types can spread to the brain. The most common are:
There are some cancers that seldom spread to the brain such as colon cancer and prostate cancer, but in rare cases, a tumor can spread to the brain from an unknown location.
Your physician will review your health history and do a physical exam, checking your nervous system. This includes checking your reflexes and the power and feeling in your arms and legs and asking questions to test your reasoning and memory. Some metastatic brain tumors may not show signs until they are very large which can cause a fast decline in nervous system function. Your physician may also order an MRI or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis and identify the tumor location. In addition, your physician may want to remove a sample of the tumor to examine it under a microscope before making the diagnosis.
Treatment for a metastatic brain tumor depends on the size and type of tumor, where in the body it has spread, and your overall health. The goals of the treatment may be to relieve symptoms, improve functioning, or provide comfort. Treatments include: