Brain Cancer

The brain and spinal cord are considered the central nervous system, or CNS. Abnormal clones of cells can arise in either of these areas and can lead to various symptoms and conditions. Primary brain tumors start in the brain versus a malignant tumor that starts in another part of the body and spreads to the brain. For instance, these metastatic tumors may have begun in the lung or breast. Therefore, even if symptoms arise and a tumor is found in the brain, it does not mean that one has brain cancer.

Some tumors in the brain are benign, meaning they are nonmalignant. A comprehensive diagnostic workup will include a medical interview and neurological exam testing your vision, strength, coordination, balance, hearing, and reflexes. Imaging tests will be performed, including a brain MRI and possibly a CT scan or PET scan. If it is suspected that the brain tumor originated in another part of the body, a CT scan of other areas may be necessary. A biopsy can be performed to remove either a piece of or the whole tumor, and the tissue can then be studied under a microscope to determine its cancer status. Molecular testing of the tumor may be ordered to identify specific tumor markers that may help diagnose and treat.


The most common types of adult brain tumors are gliomas, which form from glial cells, followed by meningeal tumors. The glial cells are the most abundant type of cell in the CNS. They protect the neurons (nerves that conduct messages) from damage. Meningeal cells form the membraneous layers that surround the CNS. Brain tumors’ symptoms can vary widely depending on the location within the brain and the type of tumor tissue. However, common symptoms can include headaches, seizures, balance changes, or alteration of senses like vision, smell, or taste.


Treatment for brain cancer has dramatically evolved with recent advances in research. The medical oncologists at Salish Cancer Center have worked with patients using stand-alone or combination therapies, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and, more recently, tumor treating fields for specific tumor types such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Treatment for symptoms may include anti-seizure drugs, steroids, and surgery. Coordination between specialists is a necessity. As a Salish Cancer Center patient, you will also visit a naturopathic physician trained explicitly in Integrative Oncology using diet, supplements, and lifestyle counseling. Our naturopathic doctors work with patients at all stages of the disease with symptom management, optimize your conventional treatment for the most significant effect, and support your overall health and well-being. Acupuncture treatments are often highly effective for cancer-related conditions such as nausea, pain, and insomnia.

Financing cancer treatment can be a stressor. We accept most insurance plans, and our financial counselor is available to discuss pricing and fees before your first visit. Other integrative services offered here, such as acupuncture, may be covered. Our clinic must receive all pertinent records before your appointments are scheduled so that we can give you our most well-informed recommendations.

For more detailed information on prostate cancer types, potential treatments, or to learn more about our services, please continue reading through our site and visit the Resources page for helpful tools and information.

Our caring support staff is available by phone to answer questions and schedule consultations. Whether you are newly diagnosed with brain cancer, exploring further options, or would like a second opinion, the physician team’s combined expertise at Salish Cancer Center is here for you.

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Risk Factors for Brain Cancer

Optune Electromagnetic Therapy

TEDMed Talk on Tumor Treating Fields

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