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What are Recurrent Brain Tumors?

Almost any type of brain tumor can recur. Sometimes it can come back months, or even years, after the first tumor. A recurrent brain tumor can manifest itself in the same place in the brain or in other parts of the central nervous system. The specialists at the Florida Hospital Brain and Spinal Cancer Program will discuss the possibilities of a recurrent brain tumor during your treatment. They will also monitor your progress following treatment to see if there are signs of a tumor returning to the brain or any part of the central nervous system. For more information about recurrent brain tumors, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Causes of Recurrent Brain Tumors

Currently, the cause of a recurrent brain tumor is unknown, but scientists are working to find more evidence as to why these tumors develop. As the name suggests, a recurrent brain tumor is one that develops after treatment has already taken place to remove a preexisting tumor. In many cases, this can happen years after the tumor has gone into remission, been stabilized, or shrunk with radiation or chemotherapy. Recurring brain tumors can develop in the same location in the brain (called a local recurrence), nearby the previous location (called a regional recurrence), or somewhere else in the central nervous system (called a distant recurrence). For more information about the causes of recurrent brain tumors, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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Symptoms of Recurrent Brain Tumors

Signs and symptoms of recurrent brain tumors will often be the same as those experienced before the first instance of treatment. In some cases these symptoms may be more pronounced. Symptoms may include headaches, seizures, drowsiness, imbalance, nausea, uncoordinated walk (ataxia) and vomiting.

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Tests to Diagnose Recurrent Brain Tumors

Diagnosing a recurrent brain tumor will generally involve some of the same tests used in the original diagnosis of the cancer. These may include a CT and MRI, a neurological exam, x-rays, and a biopsy. 

A physical exam and medical history: Your physician will check your general signs of health, including signs of disease, such as lumps or anything that seems out of the ordinary. Your medical history including your health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be checked

A neurological exam: You will be asked to answer a series of questions and perform simple tests in order to check your brain, spinal cord and nerve function. These exams will check your mental status, coordination, and ability to walk normally (along with muscles, senses and reflexes).

CT (computerized tomography) scan
A CT scan takes a series of x-rays that allows the physician to see a three-dimensional picture of the inside of your body. The CT scan is painless and lasts for only a few minutes. Using a small amount of radiation, the scan will be harmless to you and to those around you. An injection of dye is given in order to let the physician see certain areas more clearly. The injection may make you feel warm or hot all over for a few seconds. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have an allergy to iodine or if you have asthma, as this could lead to a more serious reaction. 

MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan
An MRI is similar to a CT scan but uses magnetism instead of x-rays to build up a detailed picture of the areas in your body. Before the scan you may be asked to remove any metal belongings, as well as jewelry. An injection of dye may be given into a vein in your arm, helping the images to show up more clearly. During the scan you will lie on a table inside a long cylinder for approximately 30 minutes. The scan is painless but may be slightly uncomfortable. The MRI technician will help make you as comfortable as possible and will give you earplugs or headphones to reduce the noise from the machine.

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Treatment for a Recurrent Brain Tumor

Treatment for recurrent brain tumors will typically involve the same treatments used previously, such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In addition, medications that have been approved for use in treating these types of tumors may also be used. Your physician may recommend that you participate in clinical trials as new treatments are always being discovered. Treatment for a recurrent brain tumor will vary depending on the specific case. As always, if you need more time to consider your options, you can always take more time. All patients are free to choose not to have treatment and our staff will explain what may happen if you decide to not have it. The following treatment options may be recommended for a recurrent brain tumor.

Surgery
Radiotherapy
Chemotherapy
Steroids
Medications
Clinical Trials

For more information about treatment for recurrent brain tumors, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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