A brain tumour forms when cells grow and divide in an uncontrollable way. When this occurs, the tumour takes up space within the skull and can interfere with the brain's normal activity. A tumour may cause damage by increasing pressure in the brain, by shifting the brain and causing it to push against the skull, and/or by invading and damaging nerve and healthy brain tissue.
Brain tumours can be benign or malignant (brain cancer). There are two main types of brain cancer:
- Primary – a tumour that originates from the brain tissue
- Metastatic – a tumour caused by cancer elsewhere in the body that spreads to the brain
Most of these tumours have no known risk factors and occur at random. Some symptoms to be aware of are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Changes in vision, hearing, speech or sensation
- Memory loss
- Change in mood or personality
For brain tumours, the treatment options are determined on the basis of:
- Tumour type and grade
- Location and size
- Patients age, medical history and health
Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are all used as treatment options for these tumours.
External Beam Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumours
External beam radiotherapy is used to treat both:
- Benign and malignant tumours, and
- Primary and metastatic brain cancer
Brain tumours because of their presence in the most important organ of the human body and their close proximity to some of the most important components of the body require high levels of radiation therapy treatment accuracy. GenesisCare is adequately equipped to provide all levels of required accuracy for the optimal treatment of brain tumours, both benign and malignant.
For the treatment of brain tumours, linear accelerators are now being used to provide volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and Brainlab (stereotactic) treatments for brain tumour patients. Brainlab in particular provides a step up in accuracy for the linear accelerator in enabling sub-millimetre positioning and treatment.