Secondary brain tumours are differentiated from primary brain tumours as they arise from another part of the body and spread to the brain. In contrast, primary brain tumours arise from the cells within the brain. Secondary brain tumours are also known as brain metastases. Brain tumours that have metastasised or spread to the brain are actually more common than primary brain tumours. In some studies they have been found to be 5 times more common than primary brain tumours.  Occasionally, secondary brain cancer is diagnosed before the primary cancer is even discovered and in a minority of people, a primary cancer that caused the brain metastasis cannot be detected. Professor Profyris is sub-speciality trained in the treatment of brain tumours.

As these tumours grow in the brain, they can cause all the same symptoms mentioned under primary brain tumours. However, the symptoms of a secondary brain tumour or brain metastases vary depending on the location, size, and rate of the tumour growth. Patients frequently exhibit multiple metastatic tumours in diverse regions of the brain. As a tumour expands, it can press on or invade neighbouring brain regions. This can result in symptoms because it typically prevents that portion of the brain from functioning.  If the tumour grows to a large size it can even lead to raised intracranial pressure, which is potentially life threatening.

The most common origins of secondary brain tumours are lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and kidney cancer. However, they can virtually arise from anywhere. Surgery allows for removal of the secondary tumour; however depending on the case other modalities of treatment such as Gamma Knife can be offered.  Decision-making concerning treatment however, as in all tumours, is very case-specific. Professor Profyris ensures that each patient has a surgical plan that is tailored specifically to their tumour. You could be enrolled in a clinical trial to test a novel treatment option or technique throughout your treatment.


How common are secondary brain tumours?

Depending on the literature studied, Secondary brain tumours are approximately ten times more common dddthan primary brain tumours.

Are secondary brain tumours treatable?

Secondary tumours are typically incurable; however there are cases where cure can be achieved. This however depends on the primary tumour. Professor Profyris, as a high volume branin-tumour specialist removes large secondary brain tumours on a frequent basis with keyhole techniques. Professor Profyris treats smaller tumours with Gamma-Knife stereotactic radiosurgery.

How long does brain tumour surgery recovery take?

Recovery is highly variable. However, the keyhole techniques that Professor Profyris utilises allow for faster recovery. Most patients are discharged from hospital after very few days and generally recover fairly quickly. Actual recovery will depend on factors such as tumour size and location. Professor Profyris will have a detailed conversation with you about this.

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