• Brain and Spine Cancers

    If you need care for brain cancer or a spinal tumor, get answers to your questions and expert guidance, close to home.

    At Anne Arundel Medical Center, we believe in treating the whole person — body, mind and spirit. Our team of specialists at the DeCesaris Cancer Institute give you a treatment plan designed just for you and lend the extra support you need throughout your cancer experience.

    About Brain and Spine Tumors

    A brain or spinal cord tumor is a mass of cells that has grown out of control. These tumors can spread throughout the brain or spinal cord and damage healthy tissue. Brain or spinal cord tumors can cause disability and may sometimes be fatal.

    According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 24,000 people are diagnosed with a cancerous brain or spinal cord tumor each year.

    Brain and Spine Cancer Types

    We treat common and rare tumors and cancers in the brain and spine, including:

    • Acoustic neuromas.
    • Astrocytomas.
    • Ependymomas.
    • Gliomas.
    • Hemangioblastomas (von Hippel-Lindau syndrome).
    • Meningiomas.
    • Neurofibromas.
    • Oligodendrogliomas.
    • Schwannomas.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Not everyone experiences the same symptoms of cancer. Your body may respond to cancer differently than others who have the same condition. While some signs and symptoms of brain and spinal tumors, like headaches, start gradually and worsen over time, other signs and symptoms, like seizures, may happen suddenly.

    Brain and spinal tumors also tend to cause problems in other parts of your body.

    Signs and symptoms of brain and spinal tumors may include:

    • Back pain.
    • Balance issues or difficulty walking.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Decreased sensitivity to pain, heat and cold.
    • Drowsiness.
    • Headaches.
    • Loss of bowel or bladder function.
    • Loss of sensation in arms or legs.
    • Muscle weakness.
    • Nausea/vomiting.
    • Personality or behavior changes.
    • Seizures.


    Based on your signs and symptoms, there are several tests that doctors use to confirm your diagnosis, including:

    • Angiogram.
    • Biopsy.
    • Blood tests.
    • Bone scans and imaging tests.
    • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap).
    • Neurological exam.
    • Urine tests.

    Your doctor helps you choose which tests are right for you and uses the results to determine next steps. If you do have a brain or spinal tumor, those results also help your care team create your custom treatment plan.


    Treatment for brain and spinal tumors focuses on first removing these masses and then preventing them from spreading or reoccurring.

    Our neurosurgeons and neuro-oncologists (neurologists who specialize in treating cancer) develop your treatment plan based on the size and location of your brain or spine tumor. When surgery is not the best option, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation.

    Some people may also benefit from an advanced radiation system, called stereotactic radiosurgery, or Novalis TX. These precisely targeted beams destroy tumors without harming healthy tissues. If necessary drugs can’t pass the blood-brain barrier, Novalis TX is a great option.

    You and your family are important members of your care team, and there is no one-size-fits-all course of treatment. At AAMC, your doctors discuss your options and work with you to choose the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

    Make an Appointment

    We’re here to help. If you suspect you may have a brain or spine tumor, or you’ve been recently diagnosed, call 443-481-5800 to schedule a consultation.

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