What is Neuro-Oncology?
In addition to treating strokes and helping patients recover from strokes, neurologists may also treat brain cancer or other tumors of the brain or spinal cord, strokes, tremors (including essential tremor), and all types of headaches, including cluster, migraine and tension headaches.
Oncology refers to a division of medicine dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tumors. Neuro-oncology focuses on treating cancers which affect the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.) Cancer of the brain or spine sometimes involve both at the same time. Brain cancer occurs when cells inside the brain reproduce uncontrollably, forming a mass. This mass, also called a tumor, may be considered cancerous (high grade, malignant) or noncancerous (low grade, benign).
Other neuro-surgical based complications may arise following a cancer treatments diagnosis and include: Paraneoplastic neurological syndromes, where cancer-fighting agents of the immune system also attack parts of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, or muscle.
How do Neurosurgeons treat Cancer?
Some neurologic cancers can be removed surgically. Most neurosurgeons combine surgery with chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy. Radiation oncology works to kill the cancer cells or prevent the cancer cells from replicating.
If located in an accessible place, the surgeon will remove as much of the brain tumor as possible. In some cases, specialists separate small tumors from surrounding brain tissue, in other words a complete surgical dissection. In other cases, neurosurgeon may opt to not separate the tumors due to their proximity to sensitive areas of the brain, making surgery risky. In these situations your doctor removes as much of the tumor as possible, safely. In some instances, removing even a small portion of the brain tumor may help reduce ailments and symptoms associated with the cancer.
Risks associated with the removal of a brain tumor include infection and bleeding. Location of the tumor, often highlights the risks associated with the tumor dissection. As an example, surgery on a tumor near nerves that connect to the eyes may carry a higher risk of loss of vision.