Brain metastases

These are metastases of other types of cancer inside the skull and are a sign that the disease is in an advanced stage.

Overview

These are metastases of other types of cancer inside the skull and are a sign that the disease is in an advanced stage. The symptoms are the same as for other brain tumours, i.e. headaches, vomiting or visual disturbances. However, these tend to get worse more quickly. Preventive measures include those that minimise the risk of the original tumour, e.g. to stop smoking.

Symptoms

General

Symptoms

Causes and treatment

Causes

Tumours that spread through the bloodstream to form metastases in the brain:

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Nerve function test (neurostatus)
  • Ophthalmoscopy (examination of optic nerve)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Search for and examination of the original tumour
Possible therapies
  • Palliative approach (improvement of quality of life)
  • Treatment of original tumour
  • Operation (for a single brain metastasis)
  • Radiation (for multiple brain metastases)
  • Medication/chemotherapy
Prognosis
  • Unfortunately, chances of recovery are slim
  • Many patients suffer and die from consequences of the original tumour

What can I do myself?

When to see a doctor?

  • Headaches
    • Frequent and recurring
    • Sudden and very severe (sign of a burst aneurysm)
    • Constantly growing stronger
  • Seizure
  • Visual impairment
  • Balance disturbances and gait abnormalities
  • Sensory disturbances, signs of paralysis
  • Severe vomiting, vomiting on an empty stomach
  • Drop in performance, increasingly tired
  • Change in state of consciousness (e.g. disorientation, fainting)
  • Change in speech and personality
  • Blood in stools, urine or sputum

Further information

Swiss Cancer League (Schweizerische Krebsliga)
www.krebsliga.ch

Selbsthilfe Schweiz (Self-Help Support Switzerland)
www.selbsthilfeschweiz.ch

Synonyms

brain metastases, brain metastasis, cerebral metastasis

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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