What is Metastatic Brain Cancer? Everything You Need to Know About Symptoms and Treatment

by | Apr 30, 2024 | Brain Cancer, CyberKnife, CyberKnife Center of Miami

Metastatic brain cancer can be a common complication of cancer, and it is the most common form of brain cancer according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Anywhere from 10% to 26% of patients who die from their cancer will develop brain metastases. While few cancers that metastasize to the brain can be cured using conventional therapies, long-term survival and palliation are possible with minimal adverse effects to patients,” according to an article in the National Library of Medicine.

The most likely cancers that spread to the brain include lung and breast cancer as well as melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Prostate cancers and other head and neck cancers can also metastasize to the brain. In fact, cancers that start from another part of the body and spread to the brain are the most common form of brain cancer – affecting between 98,000 and 170,000 cancer patients in the United States every year.


Metastatic Brain Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of metastatic brain cancer according to the American Society of Clinical 

Oncology includes headaches, seizures, nausea, bowel or bladder problems, vision problems, memory loss, confusion, anxiety and depression.

So if you or your loved one begins to experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.

If tests confirm metastatic brain cancer, there are treatment options.


Treatment for Metastatic Brain Cancer

Along with surgical resection, there are typically two types of radiation used to treat metastatic brain cancer: whole-brain radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Whole brain radiation therapy is exactly what it sounds like – radiation of the entire brain. Side effects include fatigue, memory loss, and hair loss.

Stereotactic radiosurgery targets only the precise part of the brain where the tumor is.  Since it focuses only on the tumor, there are fewer side effects than with whole-brain radiotherapy.

Standard treatment used to be surgery followed by a form of radiation to decrease the chance of recurrence.

“For patients either not eligible for surgical resection of brain metastases or who elect for non-surgical therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery offers an excellent option for controlling a limited number of intracranial metastases,” according to the article in the National Institutes of Health 

Stereotactic radiosurgery like CyberKnife is considered standard for patients with one to four brain metastases, but emerging data indicate it may be an acceptable treatment for patients with up to ten brain metastases,” the article continues while citing a 2019 report.


The CyberKnife Advantage for Metastatic Brain Cancer

CyberKnife is one form of stereotactic radiosurgery.

CyberKnife’s image-guided robotic technology enables the targeted radiation to track a tumor’s movement in real-time. The technology delivers radiation directly to the tumor, leaving healthy surrounding tissue unharmed. This way it can deliver the highest dose of radiation possible to destroy brain lesions. With CyberKnife, patients often need a shorter course of treatment than with traditional radiation because SBRT is targeted radiation.  

According to Accuray, the maker of CyberKnife, there are two decades of clinical proof of using CyberKnife to treat metastatic brain cancer.

“In a clinical study of 133 patients treated for tumor metastases to the brain presenting with clinical symptoms such as headaches and seizures, 90 percent of patients either stabilized or improved performance status following treatment with the CyberKnife System,” according to Accuray’s website.

“In a clinical study of 333 patients using the CyberKnife System to treat tumor metastases to the brain, more than 85 percent of evaluable patients achieved local tumor control at two years post-treatment. That is, the tumor either decreased in size or stopped growing,” Accuray also reported.


CyberKnife Miami

The CyberKnife Center of Miami is the premier cancer treatment center in South Florida.

We treat patients from across South Florida, the state, the country, and even the world. CyberKnife Miami opened its doors over 20 years ago and was the 11th center to open in the United States. Since that time, we have successfully treated thousands of patients, including those with metastatic brain cancer.

We believe treating patients with compassion and state-of-the-art technology go hand in hand. That’s the advantage we have over other cancer treatment centers. Plus, our doctors and staff are experts in the field, often working to train others in how to use CyberKnife technology.  

At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, our goal is to get you back to your life and make your quality of life the best it can be while you’re going through treatments. 

If you would like to find out more about treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our website now for more information www.cyberknifemiami.com.