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.
There are two main types of neurological 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. However, some symptoms to be aware of are:
- Nausea & vomiting
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Changes in vision, hearing, speech or sensation
- Memory loss
- Change in mood or personality
Radiation Therapy for Neurological Cancer
For brain tumours, the treatment options are determined on the basis of the tumour type, grade, location, size and the patients overall medical history and health. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are all utilised treatment options for these tumours.
External beam radiotherapy is used to treat both benign and malignant tumours, as well as primary and metastatic brain cancer.
Because of their presence in the most important organ of the human body, brain tumours require high levels of treatment accuracy. Genesis CancerCare NSW is adequately equipped to provide all levels of required accuracy for the optimal treatment of brain tumours, both benign and malignant, using the latest treatment technology such as stereotactic radiation therapy or the Gamma Knife.
The Gamma Knife
Gamma Knife® (GK) surgery sometimes referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), is a non-invasive method for treating brain disorders. It is the delivery of a single, high dose of radiation to a targeted area within the brain, providing the utmost surgical precision, while reducing exposure to healthy tissue. Despite the name, there is no knife or surgery involved.
Genesis CancerCare at Macquarie University Hospital operates Australia's first Gamma Knife. This has revolutionised the management of brain tumours and many other brain conditions that may have previously required invasive surgery. Patients no longer have to travel overseas to access this potentially life-saving treatment and can return home after just a few hours. Working with Macquarie Neurosurgery and Macquarie University we have combined expertise to provide the most advanced treatment available in Australia, with unparalleled resultant accuracy for patients.