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Brain tumor care

Care for tumors that start in the brain.

Allina Health’s neuroscience program can help with comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and support for people who have a brain tumor and their families.

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What it is

Healthy cells that make up brain tissue grow, divide and replace themselves in an orderly way. Sometimes cells lose their ability to limit and direct their growth. When too much tissue forms, a brain tumor develops.

A brain tumor can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Even a benign tumor in the brain or spine is a serious problem because it can damage the central nervous system as it grows and increase brain pressure.

Brain tumors can also be metastatic, which means that the cancer has traveled into the brain from another part of the body.

Good to know

Our neuro-oncology care coordinators help patients and families from brain tumor diagnosis to treatment and beyond. They provide support and help you navigate your entire care journey.

We care for patients with tumors and conditions that include:

  • meningioma
  • glioblastoma (WHO grade IV)
  • infiltrating gliomas (WHO grade II or III)
  • anaplastic gliomas (WHO grade III or IV), such as anaplastic oligodendroglioma or astrocytoma
  • low grade gliomas (WHO grade II), such as oligodendroglioma or astrocytoma
  • craniopharyngioma
  • chondrosarcomas
  • epidermoids
  • glomus tumors
  • cholesterol granulomas
  • chordomas
  • problems pertaining to the facial nerve
  • acoustic neuromas

Our neurosurgeons care for patients with tumors and conditions that include:

  • pituitary adenomas
  • meningocele
  • spinal cord tumors

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosing a brain tumor often starts with a physical exam and a neurological exam by your primary care provider. The provider asks a series of questions and performs tests to check brain, spinal cord and nerve function. If your provider thinks you might have a tumor, he or she will order additional tests. 

The most common brain tumor symptoms include:

  • changes in mental function
  • headaches
  • seizures (especially in older adults)
  • weakness in one part or side of the body

Some tumors do not cause symptoms until they are very large. Other tumors have symptoms that develop slowly over time. Symptoms depend on the tumor's size, location, how far it has spread and whether there is brain swelling. 

Treatment depends on the size and type of tumor, your age and your general health. Goals of treatment may be to stop the progression of the tumor, relieve symptoms and improve brain function or comfort. Treatment options include:

  • surgery
  • radiation therapy
  • stereotactic radiosurgery
  • chemotherapy

Related links

Source: Allina Health’s neuroscience program
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