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What are Skull Base Tumors?

Florida Hospital Cancer Institute offers the latest and most effective treatment for skull base tumors in Orlando for residents of Central Florida and the surrounding regions. Skull base tumors develop on the inside of the skull, but in some cases on the outside. Behind the eyes and sinuses lies the floor of the skull. A number of different types of tumors can originate in this area, both cancerous and benign. Many major blood vessels and nerve pathways are routed through holes in the skull base. With so many other vital structures close by, skull base tumors present many surgical challenges.  A tumor need not be cancerous to cause problems. For more information about treatment for skull base tumors in Orlando, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Symptoms of Skull Base Tumors

Symptoms may not be present until the tumor grows large enough to interfere with other structures. When present, they can include: 

  • Facial pain, numbness
  • Headache
  • Recurring sinus inflammation
  • Nasal blockages
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vocal hoarseness
  • Loss of hearing or ringing in the ears
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Risk Factors for Skull Base Tumors

Currently, researchers do not know what causes skull base tumors to occur, however, they have identified certain risk factors that may increase the chance of developing these types of tumors. These include the following: 

  • Previous radiation therapy to the head to treat an infection of the scalp, or tumors of the head, neck or brain
  • Exposure to chemicals, including vinyl chloride, arsenic and herbicides
  • Certain genetic conditions
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Tests to Diagnose Skull Base Tumors

In order to properly diagnose skull base tumors, your physician may recommend the following exams and tests. 

  • The initial test to diagnose a skull base tumor will be a physical exam, during which your physician will ask you questions about your symptoms, your personal health and your family's health history. 
  • Next, your physician may perform a neurological exam to check your vision, hearing, balance, coordination, reflexes and your ability to think and remember.
  • Depending on the outcome of the physical exam and/or the neurological exam, your physician may recommend imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT or CAT scan), which use computers to create detailed images of the brain. Other tests may include a bone scan and a PET scan. 
  • During a bone scan, a radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream, allowing the tumor to absorb this material. Then, a special camera is used to take detailed images with a computer of the tumor. This will tell your physician exactly where the tumor is located and detect any spread to other organs. 
  • During a positron emission tomography (PET) scan (often performed in combination with a CT scan), your physician will be able to detect changes in the cells as they grow using a radioactive material injected into the tumor cells. 
  • Other tests may include endoscopy, whereby your physician will inspect the nasal passages with a thin, lighted instrument. 
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Treatments of Skull Base Tumors

The complete arsenal of cancer therapies is used to combat malignant skull base tumors; surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, used both individually and in combination. Proton therapy is increasingly being used on certain specific types of tumors. Surgery may involve traditional open methods or minimally invasive techniques. 

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Request an Appointment

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

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