From an interview with
Dr. William Naso
Brain tumors come in two major types but treatments come in many forms, according to Neurosurgeon Dr. William Naso.
Here are key points from Dr. Naso’s interview:
The two major types of brain tumor you can divide into what we call primary brain tumors and metastatic brain tumors.
Primary brain tumors come from the brain itself. There are ones that are benign, meaning non-cancerous. We take them out and you’re cured. If they are malignant, a person could die if not quickly treated.
The other types of brain tumors are metastatic. So metastatic tumors are tumors that have spread from a different part of the body. For example, the lung or the breast. These tumors can be quite deadly, but they can also be treated.
Brain tumors, interestingly, are perhaps the highest volumes of cancer treated anywhere, because when you combine primary brain tumors with metastatic brain tumors, there are approximately 240,000 cases of newly diagnosed brain tumors each year in the United States. That is more common than for lung cancer or breast cancer.
The diagnosis of a brain tumor is perhaps one of the most unsettling diagnoses a patient can receive. The brain is really who we are and what we are. It is the way we are able to express ourselves. And when a patient receives that diagnosis, it can be very difficult to hear. It’s one of the most difficult conversations that we have with a patient.
However, diagnosis of a brain tumor is not necessarily a death sentence. And we have multiple modalities to effectively treat patients with brain tumors. There’s surgical removal or stereotactic radiosurgery. Our medical colleagues have made amazing advances in chemotherapy. And yes, there are some tumors that will ultimately take our patient’s lives, but we have made so many advances over the last 25 years that it’s a very exciting time to be involved with the treatment of patients with brain tumors.
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