Trust the health care professionals at Banner Brain & Spine to help develop a custom treatment plan for your skull base tumor. We’re here to help and provide answers and specialized care.
Types of Skull Base Tumors
A skull base tumor is a type of growth that occurs in the bones of the skull. These tumors grow at the base of the skull or below the base of the skull. Skull base tumors can grow in three areas including anterior compartment, central compartment and posterior compartment.
They can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and they can occur at any age. Symptoms of skull base tumors can vary depending on the location and size of the tumor, but may include headache, changes in vision, changes in hearing, and changes in the shape of the head. Treatment options may include surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The choice of treatment will depend on the specific characteristics of the tumor including its size, type and location.
Anterior compartment tumors may include:
- Olfactory neuroblastoma
- Paranasal sinus cancer
Central compartment tumors may include:
- Pituitary adenomas
- Rathke’s cleft cyst
- Craniopharyngiomas - A craniopharyngioma is a type of brain tumor that arises from cells in the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain that produces hormones that regulate various body functions. Craniopharyngiomas are typically benign (noncancerous) and slow growing, but they can cause problems if they press on or damage nearby structures such as the optic nerve or the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
- Symptoms of craniopharyngiomas can vary depending on the size and location of the tumor, but may include headache, changes in vision, problems with hormone production, and changes in appetite or thirst. Treatment options for craniopharyngiomas may include surgery to remove the tumor (either through the nose or the head), radiation therapy and medications to manage hormone imbalances. The choice of treatment will depend on the specific characteristics of the tumor.
Posterior compartment tumors may include:
- Acoustic neuroma
- Chondrosarcoma - Chondrosarcoma is a type of low-grade cancer that arises from cartilage cells, which are cells that produce a flexible, connective tissue found in various parts of the body. Chondrosarcoma can occur in any part of the body where there is cartilage; in neurosurgical terms, it most commonly affects a region in the bones of the base of the skull (clivus). Chondrosarcoma tends to grow slowly, but it can involve important nerves and be aggressive in some cases.
- Symptoms of chondrosarcoma can vary depending on the location of the tumor, but may include pain, double vision, swallowing problems, and numbness swelling. Treatment options for chondrosarcoma may include surgery through the nose or head to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The choice of treatment will depend on the specific characteristics of the tumor and the stage of the cancer.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Skull Base Tumors
Similar to brain tumors, there is no definite cause for the development of skull base tumors. Risk factors for skull tumors may include chemical exposures, family history or genetic conditions and radiation therapies to the head.
Depending on the size and location, signs and symptoms for skull base tumors may vary. General symptoms for skull base tumors may include:
- Memory problems
- Trouble with balance
- Vision problems
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Hearing problems
- Loss of smell
- Hormone abnormalities (weight gain, fatigue, increased thirst, increased urination)
Skull Base Tumor Diagnosis
The team at Banner Brain & Spine can diagnose skull base tumors with advanced imaging technology, including:
Talk to your doctor about testing options to get the answers you need. After you have been diagnosed, you and your doctor can discuss skull tumor treatment options.
Skull Base Tumor Treatment
Treatment will depend on the size, location and type of skull base tumor. Talk to your doctor and neurosurgeon about treatment options like surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
With a team of experts in neurosurgery, Banner Brain & Spine is ready to care for you when you or a loved one is dealing with a tumor on the skull. Count on us to be with you at every step.