Brain tumors can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and they can arise from the brain itself (primary) or originate from another organ in the body (metastatic). Depending on their location and the patient's symptoms, brain tumors can be treated with observation, open neurosurgical procedures, minimally invasive approaches, or stereotactic radiosurgery. Cancerous brain tumors are usually treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these treatments.
Spinal tumors may be cancerous or non-cancerous. The treatment of benign tumors depends on patient symptoms such as pain or lack of mobility, and may be treated with a watch-and-wait approach, various medications, radiation, or surgery. Cancerous tumors can be treated with radiation or chemotherapy with/without surgical resection and stabilization. Surgery can often be used to relieve pain, stabilize the spine, and to improve quality of life.
The pituitary gland sits in a bony structure at the base of the skull, and is sometimes the site of the benign(non-cancerous) growths. It is especially suited to minimally invasive procedures due both to its location, and to the thin bone layer surrounding it, and therefore easily penetrated. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause many symptoms related to hormonal dysfunction, from abnormal thickening of bone to secretion of milk from the breasts in both males and females. They can also affect vision and can cause central and peripheral vision defects.