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Metastatic Tumors

A metastatic, or secondary, brain tumor is one that begins as cancer in another part of the body. Cancer cells may be carried to the brain by the blood or lymphatic fluid, or may spread from adjacent tissue. The site where the cancerous cells originated is referred to as the primary cancer. Primary cancer is usually in the lung, breast, colon, kidney or skin but can originate in any part of the body. Metastatic brain tumors are often referred to as lesions or brain metastases. They are usually located in the cerebrum but can also develop in the cerebellum or brain stem. Metastatic brain tumors are the most common brain tumors.


Some people with metastatic brain tumors have no symptoms. Others may experience a variety of moderate to severe symptoms including:

  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Pain and numbness
  • Behavioral and cognitive changes
  • Lack of coordination

Because these symptoms may be caused by different conditions, you should be evaluated by a neurological professional to rule out other causes.


There are various treatments for metastatic brain tumors. Each treatment evaluated on an individual basis and is done to prolong the life of an individual, alleviate symptoms and improve brain function while causing as little trauma as possible. The treatment will greatly depend on the location of the tumor and the overall health of the individual. Surgery and Gamma Knife by InstantSavings">radiosurgery are the preferable treatments if lesions are limited in number and accessible. Surgery is dependent on location and accessibility of the tumor. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a non-surgical, painless and effective treatment for small to medium size brain metastases that can achieve long term tumor control. It treats the tumor by a targeted dose of radiation to treat the abnormal tissue while leaving the healthy tissue unaffected. Patients go home the same day and allow patients to resume normal activity usually the same day. SCCNS is proud to be a preferred provider of this treatment at the Southern California Regional Gamma Knife Center in Upland, CA.

Our experts at SCCNS can review each treatment option with you and help you decide the best treatment for you.

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