Our brain tumor experts bring you extensive experience in treating operable and inoperable brain tumors, making your quality of life their top priority.
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Brain tumors are usually categorized by the type of cell where the tumor begins or by the area of the brain where they occur.
Signs You Should Get Help for a Brain Tumor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following common brain tumor symptoms:
- Headaches (usually worse in the morning)
- Changes in speech, vision or hearing
- Changes in mood, personality or ability to concentrate
- Problems balancing or walking
- Muscle jerking or twitching
Types of Brain Tumors
- Metastatic brain tumors: The most common type of brain tumors that spread to the brain from other primary cancers like breast cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer or melanoma. About 20 to 40% of people with cancer will develop a metastatic brain cancer tumor.
- Craniopharyngioma: Benign tumors at the base of the brain that are difficult to remove.
- Gliomas: A malignant tumor that starts in the glial cells. The different types of glioma include the following:
- Astrocytoma (Glioblastoma is the most common kind of astrocytoma in adults)
- Brainstem gliomas
- Optic nerve glioma
- Medulloblastoma: A rare, malignant brain tumor that is most common in children and young adults under age 25.
- Meningioma: A common adult brain tumor that is usually benign.
- Pineal region tumors: Tumors near the pineal gland, which helps control sleep and wake cycles.
- Pituitary tumor: Often benign tumors on the pituitary gland which produces hormones that control other glands in the body.
- Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET): Fast-growing, often malignant tumors that can occur anywhere in the brain.
- Schwannoma: Benign tumors that can cause hearing loss, loss of balance or problems with weakness on one side of the face.
Brain Tumor Diagnosis at Rush
In order to make an accurate diagnosis, we will first conduct a complete medical history and physical exam. We may then order or perform some of the following diagnostic tests:
- Angiogram, an X-ray exam of the blood vessels to diagnose blockages, narrowing or other blood vessel problems.
- Bone scan
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- MR spectroscopy
- Myelogram, an imaging test that detects issues in the spinal canal
- Neurological exam to tests your reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, coordination, alertness.
Treatment for Brain Tumors at Rush
Brain tumor treatment depends on the type of brain tumor, the stage and your overall health. Some treatment options may include the following
- Brain tumor surgery
- Laser interstitial therapy (LITT)
- Radiation therapy or radiosurgery
Rush Excellence in Brain Tumor Care
- Nationally ranked experts focused on you: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center among the best in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery and cancer care. Our multidisciplinary brain tumor care team will create a care plan tailored to your unique needs.
- Top experience that matters: Our highly skilled experts from more than 10 medical subspecialties provide team-based, personalized care for a full range of skull base brain tumors at the Rush Center for Pituitary and Skull Base Surgery. They are among a handful of programs that have in-depth experience with these rare tumors. In fact, only about 5% of U.S. hospitals evaluate and treat as many patients with pituitary and skull base tumors as we do here at Rush. Because of our expertise, we are able to handle even the most complex cases.
- Specialized clinic for metastatic brain cancer: Our multidisciplinary team of neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and a nurse navigator work together and with you to determine the best course of treatment for metastatic brain tumors. You will be seen by the entire team within a few days of your call.
- Leading-edge treatments and research: At Rush, you will have access to advanced treatments you might not find elsewhere as part of new clinical trial testing. For example, researchers are studying whether an experimental vaccine can help patients’ immune systems stop the spread of glioblastoma — an aggressive form of a cancerous brain tumor with very few current treatment options.
- Focused on quality of life for you and your family: The Rush University Cancer Center's cancer supportive care offers many resources to help you and your family cope with the physical and emotional effects of a brain tumor. Social workers, therapists, nutritionists, integrative medicine specialists, chaplains and patient navigators are all available to support you through your treatment and beyond.
- Expert second opinions: If you're looking to confirm your brain tumor diagnosis and fully explore all your potential treatment options, we offer second opinion services for brain tumors.