People who come to the Mayo Clinic Brain Tumor Program for treatment of cancer that has spread to the brain are cared for by internationally respected doctors who specialize in this type of cancer. Our doctors use the latest technology and techniques and develop a treatment plan tailored to each situation.
Innovation in diagnosis and treatment
To arrive at a diagnosis, your doctor may have you undergo noninvasive imaging, such as high-resolution MRI, magnetic resonance perfusion or spectroscopy. Some imaging techniques may help distinguish cancerous tumors from benign tumors without a biopsy.
Your treatment for brain metastases may include:
- Proton therapy. Proton therapy delivers precise radiation doses to the tumor and protects nearby healthy tissue. This is because proton beams, unlike X-rays, do not travel beyond the tumor. Mayo Clinic's Proton Beam Therapy Program has treatment facilities at the clinic's campuses in Arizona and Minnesota.
- Laser interstitial thermal therapy. This technique is occasionally used in people whose brain metastases are difficult to reach with open surgery. It uses a long tube (catheter) to advance a laser into the brain and kills the cancerous tissue with heat.
- Surgery in operating rooms dedicated to brain surgery. The operating room for brain surgery is equipped with intraoperative MRI, which creates accurate pictures of the brain that guide the neurosurgeon in effectively removing only the tumor and protecting healthy brain tissue. This precision helps preserve hearing, language and other important brain functions.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. With Mayo Clinic's advanced stereotactic radiosurgery system (both Gamma Knife radiosurgery and linear accelerator-based radiosurgery), your doctor can treat many brain metastases, including widely spaced tumors, often in a single session. You may need to wear a headframe during the process, depending on your situation.
Your treatment team
Your treatment team may include a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist, a neuro-oncologist and others as needed. Together they work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan. Test results are reviewed by a large, multidisciplinary tumor board of experts to discuss the optimum plan of care. You receive comprehensive care for the diagnosis and treatment of your condition, with access to in-depth counseling, unbiased review of all available treatment options, follow-up care and rehabilitation.
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