Doctors at MD Anderson - Orlando have created Central Florida's first clinic devoted to the treatment of brain and spinal tumors. The specialty center at MD Anderson - Orlando offers patients a multidisciplinary review of their case and a variety of treatments often not available elsewhere. The center brings together the best radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, medical neuro-oncologists, and support staff for neuro-oncology patients.
What is a Brain Tumor?
Tumors are classified either as benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Although in most parts of the body, benign tumors are not harmful; this is not true in the brain. Because the brain is housed within the rigid, bony confines of the skull, any abnormal growth can place pressure on sensitive tissues and impair normal functioning. In addition, any tumor located near vital brain structures can seriously threaten health. A benign tumor growing next to an important blood vessel in the brain does not have to grow to be very large before it can block blood flow. Additionally, if a benign tumor is found deep inside the brain, surgery to remove it may be risky because of the chances of damaging eloquent areas of the brain. A tumor located near the brain's surface can, on the other hand, often be removed surgically.
Dr. Nicholas Avgeropoulos discusses Brain Tumors (Cancer)
Primary and Secondary Brain Tumors
Primary brain tumors arise from cells within the parenchyma of the brain or its coverings. Except medulloblastoma, these tumors rarely spread outside the brain. In general, malignant primary brain tumors are most likely to cause problems by invading the normal brain tissue surrounding them.
A secondary brain tumor occurs when cancer cells from other affected parts of the body, such as the lungs or breasts, spread to the brain. Your doctor will be able to tell if it is a primary or secondary tumor. To diagnose a secondary brain tumor, the doctor will examine you thoroughly, typically using an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. To provide an exact diagnosis, a biopsy is sometimes recommended for obtaining cells that will be examined under a microscope.
Types of Brain Tumors
These are a group of tumors developed from supporting cells of the brain known as glial cells. Gliomas are usually named after the part of the brain in which they are found, such as brainstem glioma. More than half of all primary brain tumors are gliomas. When a glioma has been diagnosed it is graded by its degree of malignancy. The grade assigned is based on the tumor's tendency to spread, its growth rate, and its similarity to normal cells. The normal World Health Organization (WHO) grading system ranges between I to IV, with grade I tumors being the least malignant. Grade I tumors grow very slowly, whereas grade IV tumors are more malignant and grow faster. In comparison to other grading schemas for instance, glioblastoma multiforme is a grade IV and an infiltrating fibrillary astrocytoma a grade II tumor. Your treatment will depend on the type and grade of tumor you have.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma
A lymphoma is a malignant tumor of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body's immune system. Rarely, these tumors affect the brain thus being named primary CNS lymphomas.
Pineal Region Tumor
The pineal gland is situated below the area that divides the two cerebral hemispheres. Tumors in this part of the brain are extremely rare. The most common pineal tumors are germinomas; others are teratomas, pineocytomas and pineoblastomas.
Meningiomas arise from the dural covering of the brain. They can occur in most parts of the brain or spinal cord and usually grow very slowly. Most meningiomas are benign and do not spread from their original site. Malignant meningiomas are very rare.
Key Technologies and Treatments
The treatment of brain tumors requires aggressive and skillful treatment. The doctors at MD Anderson - Orlando have the expertise and technology to meet this challenge and improve outcomes for brain cancer patients. Some of the newest treatments, screening procedures, and diagnostic advances for brain tumors are available at MD Anderson - Orlando. Our specialists use advanced diagnostic imaging and molecular medicine for the most accurate disease staging and treatment planning available.
Our Team of Experts
- Medical Oncology
George Bobustuc, MD*
Nicholas G. Avgeropoulos, MD
Said Baidas, MD
- Radiation Oncology
Naren R. Ramakrishna, MD, PhD*
Wayne Jenkins, MD, MPH
- Surgical Oncology
Nizam Razack, MD, F.A.C.S.*
Hunaldo J. Villalobos, MD
* Indicates team leader
For more information or to schedule a consulation, please call 321.841.1869.