Secondary tumours or metastases are some of the most frequently diagnosed tumours occurring in the brain.
This means that tumour cells from other parts of the body have broken off, travelled through the bloodstream, and established a new tumour in the brain. Nearly 50% of brain tumours diagnosed in Australia are secondary tumours.
The most common primary tumours to spread to the brain are lung, breast, melanoma and renal (kidney) cancers. However, almost any cancer can spread to the brain.
About 15-20% of the secondary tumours diagnosed present with brain related symptoms in otherwise well people, without a prior diagnosis of cancer.
Depending on the location of the tumour, the number of lesions, related symptoms and the general health, you may be recommended surgery to remove the tumour(s) from the brain.
In general, a radiation oncologist will then treat almost all patients with either focussed or whole brain radiation, after tumour removal, to maximise the likelihood of ongoing tumour control. An appropriate medical oncologist may also be involved for further treatment of any other tumours that may be found elsewhere.
Surgeons from Neurosurgery Tasmania will liaise with appropriate specialists from the medical and radiation oncology teams to make the most appropriate recommendations for your treatment.