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Brain Cancer

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Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center's team of multidisciplinary doctors and health care professionals brings together the expertise, advanced technologies and heartfelt compassion you need to feel supported along your cancer journey.

What Is Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer is an overgrowth of cells in the brain or along your spinal cord that forms masses called tumors. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Brain cancer can be primary, meaning it originates in the brain, or secondary, meaning cancer has formed elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Primary brain cancer is one of the least common forms of cancer and rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

What Kind of Doctor Treats Brain Cancer?

At Banner MD Anderson, our multidisciplinary approach to treating brain cancer brings together a team of experts that includes medical, surgical and radiation oncologists. These experts work together to develop an individualized treatment plan based on your unique needs.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Brain Cancer?

People with brain tumors can have a variety of physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms, which impact their mood, personality and thinking. Symptoms may include headaches, vision changes, seizures, sleepiness, confusion, loss of appetite and behavioral changes. Importantly, less aggressive or slower growing brain tumors may have little to no signs or symptoms. 

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What Causes Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer does not have a single cause and in most people with primary brain cancer, the cause is not clearly understood. Your risk of getting brain cancer is higher if you have been exposed to radiation or have a family history of brain cancer. Interestingly, some studies have shown that people with a history of allergies have a lower risk of getting brain cancer. 

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How Is Brain Cancer Diagnosed?

Doctors often rely on patient symptoms, brain imaging scans and surgery to diagnose brain cancer. While tumors are sometimes found incidentally on imaging scans, brain tumors commonly have the symptoms described above. If brain cancer is suspected, imaging scans, surgery and other diagnostic exams are used to confirm the diagnosis.

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How Is Brain Cancer Treated?

There are many ways to treat brain cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. In some cases, tumor observation is the best approach.  The multidisciplinary team at Banner MD Anderson will determine the treatment approach that is best suited for each individual. We are here to provide support, ensure each patient knows what to expect and answer questions. Our team designs an effective and compassionate treatment plan based on research evidence as well as the patient’s individual needs and goals.   

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