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Neurologic Cancer

  201-227-6008    |      cancer@holyname.org

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Neurologic cancers develop in the brain or spinal cord. Brain cancers are usually fast growing. Spinal cord cancers typically grow slower and are easier to treat.

Approximately 24,000 new cases of neurologic cancers are diagnosed each year; between 85 to 90 percent of them start in the brain. Other cancers, particularly lung and breast, can spread to the brain. These are called metastatic tumors.

Some tumors develop in a small gland in the brain called the pituitary. Most pituitary tumors are benign but they can make hormones that cause symptoms.

The Patricia Lynch Cancer Center at Holy Name has a multi-disciplinary team of experienced and skilled neurosurgeons, oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses and support staff to treat neurologic cancers. They provide a compassionate, unified approach in creating a personal strategy for each patient's unique medical, emotional and lifestyle needs.


  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Change in speech or hearing
  • Change in vision
  • Balance problems
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Problems with memory
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Weakness in one part of the body

Risk Factors

  • Radiation therapy as a child
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Increasing age


  • History and physical exam
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Angiogram
  • Biopsy


Treatment options depend on the size and type of tumor, and whether it is putting pressure on other parts of the brain. Surgery is usually performed and may be combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. At times, surgery is not possible because the tumor can't be reached or it involves vital structures.

When the tumor has spread from another organ, treatment is directed at the underlying malignancy in addition to the neurologic tumor.