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What is brain metastasis?

Brain metastasis.

Lung cancer is the one that most often generates a Brain metastasis. They follow the breast, some sarcomas or melanoma. Also tumors are other types of cancer, such as the colon or prostate in which it is very rare to spread to the brain. In most cases the metastasis is located in the cerebral hemispheres, whereas in 15% of the cases the cerebellum is affected and in 5% the brainstem. It should also be noted that in most cases more than one brain metastasis can be found.

Symptoms of cerebral metastasis

Although brain metastases are usually diagnosed after a CT scan, a PET scan or an MRI, the truth is that there are a number of symptoms that can lead to suspicion of its existence, the most frequent being the following:

Recurring headaches that intensify over time.

Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation somewhere in the body, for example in the legs.

Dificulty to walk.

Speech disorders.

Vision problems (double vision, rapid loss of visual acuity, etc.)

Disorders of reasoning ability.

Convulsions.

Mood swings, behavioral disturbances, or personality disorders.

Nausea and vomiting.

Feeling of fatigue or weakness.

Inflammation of the brain and increased intracranial pressure.

Brain metastasis

Treatment  of brain metastasis

The treatment of brain metastases is generally of palliative character and is directed to the control of the symptoms and the maintenance of the quality of life and the capacity to develop the daily activities. It should be borne in mind that most of the drugs that are used in chemotherapy for the treatment of primary tumors are not able to pass the blood-brain barrier, so they do not act on the brain metastasis.

For this reason, depending on the symptoms manifested by the patient, different pharmacological treatments will be applied: corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and intracranial pressure, anticonvulsants, anticoagulants to prevent thrombus formation, analgesics for headache, etc.

When this is the only metastasis that has generated the primary cancer and the symptoms are very severe, there is sometimes the possibility of opting for surgery to eliminate it, as this can relieve tumor pressure on areas of the brain that Control important functions such as vision, speech, etc. But on many occasions, either by the extent of the metastasis or by the difficulty of accessing it in a surgical procedure, a radiosurgery treatment can be applied, which allows the radiation beam to be selectively reduced to metastasis, preserving Healthy areas of action.

Usually this type of treatment is done by a device called Gamma-knife, which converts multiple beams of gamma radiation on the surface of the brain that must be necroses to eliminate metastasis, which implies a very extensive radio logical study and a Very meticulous planning using a computer program.

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