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Doctor insights on: What Happens When Cancer Spreads To The Brain

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What is the term for when cancer spreads to the brain?

What is the term for when cancer spreads to the brain?

Metastasis: This is called brain metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Sometimes the slang term "brain met" is used.

Dr. Barry Rosen
4,330 Doctors shared insights

Cancer (Definition)

Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion of surrounding tissues that spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin anywhere in the body and is usually related to one or more genetic mutations that allow normal cells to become malignant by interfering with internal cellular control mechanisms, such as programmed cell death or by preventing ...Read more


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How to determine if cancer has spread to the brain?

How to determine if cancer has spread to the brain?

Imaging studies...: If a person has cancer that has spread to the brain from another body site, the person may have symptoms such as headache, confusion, personality changes, seizures, etc... If there is suspicion of metastatic cancer in the brain, then the patient can undergo imaging studies of the brain such as a ct scan or an mri. These studies will allow the care team to diagnoses metastases in most situations.

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How typical is it for cancer to spread to different parts of the brain?

How typical is it for cancer to spread to different parts of the brain?

Depends on tumor: Type. Some tumors spread to brain more often than others, e.g., lung cancer, melanoma spread to brain more often than colon cancer.

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Can cancer spread from brain to spine?

Can cancer spread from brain to spine?

There are some: Pediatric tumors, medulloblastoma, the descend via spinal fluid. And some adult tumor that spread to the brain, lung cancer, and then spinal fluid spread (small cell), but brain primary tumors rarely spread anywhere, and spine usually means bones not fluid.

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Can you tell me how cancer that has spread to the brain kill you?

Can you tell me how cancer that has spread to the brain kill you?

Metastatic cancer: People can die from metastatic cancer from different causes- including: severe infection, severe malnutrition, or organs failure. Metastatic disease to the brain should be treated obviously. Any occupying lesion in the brain may increase pressure inside the skull/brain. As the skull/brain is a close space- any increase pressure may cause herniation of the brain stem and it can cause demise.

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How can cancer that spread to brain kill you. Taking care of someone?

How can cancer that spread to brain kill you. Taking care of someone?

It often does: If the tumors in the brain grow to a big size (over 2-3 cm) they cause increasing compromise of brain functions due to raised intracranial pressure which leads to mental confusion, coma and death over a period of few weeks.

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Wanted to know if all brain cancers need surgery if it was spread from another cancer?

Wanted to know if all brain cancers need surgery if it was spread from another cancer?

Not necessarily: Many brain tumors are treated primarily with radiation. Some low grade ones may need both

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How common is it for bladder cancer to spread to the brain?

How common is it for bladder cancer to spread to the brain?

Not common: Bladder cancer typically spreads to regional lymph nodes around bladder first. At advance stages, it may progress and spread to other abdominal organs (liver, prostate, vagina, uterus, urethra, etc.) but typically not brain.

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Could brain cancer spread from brain to spine?

Depending on what: Type of brain cancer and where the original lesion is, it is possible for metastasis.

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Does brain cancer spread from the brain into the spine?

Yes: Some brain cancers spread that way. Examples: cerebral glioblastoma, anaplastic astrocytoma, ependymoma/myxopapillary ependymoma, posterior fossa medulloblastoma (pnet-mb), pineal tumours (eg. Germinoma, pineoblastoma), choroid plexus neoplasms.

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Mom had breast cancer in 2006 & in 2009 metastasis to lung, brain&eye happened. On 2012 tumor spread to bones and liver. Now she can't move easily&tired?

Mom had breast cancer in 2006 & in 2009 metastasis to lung, brain&eye happened. On 2012 tumor spread to bones and liver. Now she can't move easily&tired?

Fatigue: I would suggest getting in touch with a palliative care specialist. Your mom may benefit from optimizing her medications and improving her symptom and pain control. They can also help give advice for your social situation in helping taking care of her. She may benefit from inpatient or outpatient hospice.

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Can thyroid cancer spread to the brain?

Can thyroid cancer spread to the brain?

Thyroid cancer: It is extremely rare for thyroid cancer to spread to the brain. If it occurs, it usually has spread to other places in the boxt

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Does brain cancer ever spread to the lungs?

Does brain cancer ever spread to the lungs?

Almost never: Tumors that start in the brain (such as glioma- the most common primary tumor) almost never metastasize outside the brain, to the extent that they are reportable as case reports.

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Can thyroid cancer spread to the brain?

Can thyroid cancer spread to the brain?

Yes but rare: Thyroid cancers do spread (meta) to brain less frequently.

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Should radiation be done before cancer cells from nsclc spread to brain?

Should radiation be done before cancer cells from nsclc spread to brain?

See below: In certain situations; I am assuming u are referring to prophylactic cranial irridiation; sclc patients may benefit from pci after a response to chemotherapy/radiation.

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What is the survival rate for someone with stage 4 ovarian cancer that has spread to the brain, when she is 84?

What is the survival rate for someone with stage 4 ovarian cancer that has spread to the brain, when she is 84?

Unfortunately, low: Stage IV ovarian cancer unfortunately has a very low survival rate. The five year survival rate for this stage is around 11%.

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Person has stage 4 cancer with mets to the brain, and now has bilateral pneumonia, how bad is this? Is this the cancer trying to spread? What's next?

Very bad: The cancer does not have to try to spread, it already has. Discuss this with the person's doctor and get an estimate of how long they are expected to survive and whether it is time to call in hospice. You also need to ask what further therapy is likely to make a meaningful difference in survival and whether that survival is functional or just further misery. Good luck.

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Why does lung cancer spread to the brain so often?

Why does lung cancer spread to the brain so often?

Lung cancer: The different cell types of lung cancer have the propensity to spread to different organs either due to blood stream patterns, adjacent anatomy or the affinity of these other organs to receive and grow these cancer strains. It turns out that the brain is one of those susceptible organs.

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Advanced prostrate cancer spread to brain, spine and liver/what is life expectancy time?

Not long...: ...I'm afraid, particularly if it's spread to the brain. It may vary depending on whether he gets treatment and how well it works but in general his prognosis is very poor. I would focus on helping him feel as good as possible for whatever time he is given rather than guessing how long he actually has.

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If cancer started in the penis would you be dead before it got to the brain? Or could it spread all the way to the brain and then kill you?

If cancer started in the penis would you be dead before it got to the brain? Or could it spread all the way to the brain and then kill you?

Cancer spread: The spread of cancer is 3 ways: local where infiltrates surrounding area; through the lymph system which goes through the body like the blood system. Both these systems can spread cancer to any part of the body at any one time if the cancer is in it. If the cancer is not in one of the systems the cancer may never get to the brain. The general answer to your question is either could occur.

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