Tumors can occur in all areas of the brain, regardless of age. Unlike tumors of other regions of the body, brain tumors show a special feature: they affect the organ, which is the centre of our perception, our awareness and thinking, our feeling and acting.
In the cerebrum primary tumors (originating in the brain) and metastases can occur. Metastases are colonies of other malignant tumors within the body, outside the brain. They are most common in senior people and can occur individually or plurally.
The most common primary tumors (meaning those that originated within another organ and spread to the brain) are lung cancer (40 to 60 percent), breast cancer (10 to 15 percent) and urogenital tumors (5 percent).
Tumors can disturb brain function and cause neurological failures, or – through irritation of the brain surface – provoke epileptic seizures. Moreover, the brain is surrounded by the immovable skull. Hence, every process that takes up space leads to an increase in pressure in the cranial cavity, which can represent a live-threatening situation.
Harbingers of brain tumors can be headaches due to pressure on the brain, epileptic seizures or neurological failures. such as paralysis, sensorial defects, speech impediments and visual impairment. Personality change and problems with memory are also possible symptoms.
Most brain tumors and metastases call for an operation. Modern surgery of brain tumors usually aims at a complete removal of the tumor, because this achieves the longest possible survival of the patient. This however is only a gain, if the operation does not result in an inferior quality of life and/or loss of autonomy. The best operational result thus has to put minimal strain on the patient. Minimally invasive neurosurgery achieves this by implementing modern techniques in both the planning and the execution of the operation.