Category: 

What Is the Connection Between Brain Lesions and Cancer?

Lesions on the brain can metastasize into a patient's brain within one to two months after the initial cancer develops.
A neurologist examines patients who have suspected brain lesions.
Advanced medical imaging techniques help doctors spot brain lesions.
Patients will likely discover they have brain lesions through an MRI scan.
Chemotherapy may be necessary to treat brain lesions or cancer.
Article Details
  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Waking up in the middle of the night is normal for humans.  more...

October 31 ,  1984 :  Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was assassinated.  more...

A synchronized relationship exists between brain lesions and cancer elsewhere in the body. Medical studies have shown that cancer cells in the prostate, breasts, and lungs can often result in concurrent lesions in the brain due to the hematogenous spreading of malignant cells. Lesions can begin to metastasize in the brain within one to two months of initial onset of the primary cancer; lung and breast cancers are typically more likely to cause legions than prostate cancer, which usually doesn’t reach the brain until late term. Cerebral lesions often occur in multiples, with most patients having an average of five lesions. Many surgeons believe that controlling these lesions is the key to extending life expectancy for patients suffering from various cancers.

Several treatment procedures can be effective for the cerebral lesions. Lesions are most often removed through gamma knife radiosurgery. Chemotherapy, excision, and radiation are alternative options for both brain lesions and cancer depending on the number and size of lesions. A combination of two treatments might be used consistently over a two- to four-week period for aggressive lesions and cancers, especially if there is a history of recurrence.

Ad

Once initial lesions are removed, new lesions can appear in new locations in 15 percent of patients, studies show. Recurring lesions in the same location often appear in up to 30 percent of patients, reducing the survival rate. According to medical follow-up surveys of afflicted patients, the survival rate of most people with brain lesions and cancer that cannot be successfully removed averages one year after diagnosis. That rate is dependent on how robust the extracranial cancer is and to what extent it has responded to treatments.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans are the typical means through which patients discover they have brain lesions. Occasionally, this is discovered by chance when tests are being taken for other ailments. Sometimes seizures, headaches, learning disorders and memory loss can signal the presence of brain lesions. The relationship between brain lesions and cancer may not occur simultaneously in some; some patients do not develop brain lesions until several years after they believe they’ve been in remission from cancer elsewhere in the body.

Not all instances of abnormal tissue in the brain indicate the dreaded brain lesions and cancer link. Some brain lesions are harmless or a result of past infections and physical injuries. Strokes, encephalitis, aneurysms, and hydrocephalus can also result in brain lesions. Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who suffer brain lesions may or may not have cancer; studies conflict on whether legions in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or HIV are parasitic infections or a rare form of cancer.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email