Understanding Brain Metastases
When cancer metastasizes, it means that it spreads to a different part of the body. Cancer can spread to multiple areas of the brain and form brain metastases, which are cancerous growths that can cause swelling. Brain metastases may be found at the same time as the primary cancer or later on.
While any cancer can spread to the brain, brain metastases are often found with melanoma, lung cancer and breast cancer. Colon cancer and gynecologic cancers may also spread to the brain, forming brain metastases.
Brain metastases often cause symptoms, but symptoms can vary depending on the size, location and number of growths. Brain metastases symptoms can include:
- Difficulty seeing, hearing or swallowing
- Emotional or behavioral changes
- Inability to move parts of the body
- Issues with memory
- Nausea or vomiting
A patient’s oncology team can help determine whether the cancer has metastasized and whether brain metastases are present to determine the best care plan.