Brain And Spine Tumors Specialist

Lance E. Gravely MD, Inc

Neurosurgeon located in Pasadena, CA & Encino, CA

A headache that gets worse and worse over time is a common sign of a brain tumor, while lasting back pain may signal a spine tumor. With either of these conditions, you need an expert diagnosis and care from Lance E. Gravely, MD, a board-certified specialist. With a focus on neurosurgery, the office can set you on the path to recovery with a technologically advanced, but conservative approach to neurological care. To find out more, call or book a consultation online with one of the offices conveniently located in Pasadena and Encino, California.

Brain and Spine Tumors Q & A

What are brain and spine tumors?

Brain tumors may be considered either primary or secondary. Primary brain tumors begin within your brain tissue, while secondary tumors start somewhere else in your body, before spreading to your brain.

Here are the most common types of brain tumors:

  • Gliomas: start in the glial, or supportive tissue in your brain
  • Meningiomas: slow-growing, non-cancerous tumors, which are most common in women

A spine tumor is a cancerous or noncancerous mass growing around your spinal cord. Spine tumors come in various forms and can occur in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacrum regions of your spine.

What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?

The most common sign of a brain tumor is a headache that worsens over time. Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty keeping your balance
  • Changes in your personality or behavior
  • Sleepiness

Seizures are also a sign of a brain tumor. Up to half of the people with brain tumors have a seizure at some point.

What are the symptoms of a spine tumor?

The most common sign of a spine tumor is a pain in your middle or lower back. You may also feel:

  • Muscle weakness or a loss of feeling in your arms, legs, or chest
  • Trouble walking, making you more prone to falls
  • Less sensitivity to heat, cold, or pain
  • Loss of bladder or bowel function

You might also experience varying degrees of paralysis with certain body parts.

How are brain and spine tumors diagnosed?

Your doctor will begin by taking a complete medical history. You’ll need to describe your symptoms and when they started.

Next, your doctor conducts a thorough exam. To complete your diagnosis, you’ll need one or more imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend one of these tests or others:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan)

Depending on the results of the tests, your doctor may suggest a biopsy, a procedure to take a tiny sample of tissue for testing. This determines whether the tumor is cancerous or noncancerous.

How are brain and spine tumors treated?

Your treatment will be tailored to the size, location, and type of tumor you have. Dr. Gravely will discuss your overall health and walk you through your options. Together, you may decide on targeted drug therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or radiosurgery.

Commonly used to treat brain tumors, radiosurgery uses highly focused, powerful beams of radiation to target and kill tumor cells in a single treatment. You can usually go home the same day.  For a spine tumor, Dr. Gravely may recommend beginning with nonsurgical treatment options, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Find out about the right treatment plan for you by calling or scheduling a consultation online with neurosurgeon Lance E. Gravely, MD.