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Metastatic Brain Tumors


These tumors, also called secondary brain tumors, originate outside of the brain in another part of the body and then spread to the brain. These tumors are more common in adults than in children.

How They Spread

Metastatic brain tumors often originate in places such as the lungs, colon or breasts. As these tumors grow, they can spread to the body's lymphatic system or blood stream. They can be carried to other parts of the body, including the brain. Once inside the brain, the cells multiply and damage healthy brain tissue.


Because the brain is such a complex organ, brain tumors can affect the mind and body in many different ways. They can cause physical problems, such as severe headaches, nausea, or seizure. They can cause behavioral changes, such as confusion and impulsiveness. The symptoms a person may experience depend on the type, size and location of the person's tumor.


Treatment options depend on the type, size and location of the tumor and the age, size and condition of the patient. Metastatic brain tumors are commonly treated with radiation or surgery. Chemotherapy is generally not as effective for this type of tumor.

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