Neurosurgeon answers questions on brain tumor signs, types, treatment


Neurosurgeon answers questions on brain tumor signs, types, treatmentWhat are the common signs of a brain tumor?
Brain tumors can cause weakness (usually on only one side of the body), loss of vision or hearing, or hormone problems. They can cause seizures. They can cause headaches and nausea, usually worse in the morning. They also can cause no symptoms, and be found when someone gets an MRI for something else.

Types of brain tumors?
Brain tumors can be benign (not cancer) like meningiomas and pituitary adenomas. They can be primary brain tumors (come from the brain itself, not from somewhere else in the body) like gliomas and glioblastomas. They can be metastatic, which means they come from another part of the body to the brain.

Are brain tumors curable?
Benign brain tumors like meningiomas and pituitary adenomas are curable with surgery. Primary brain tumors like glioma and glioblastomas, and metastatic tumors need surgery as well as additional treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. They need to be followed by doctors to make sure they don‘t come back, and if they come back they may need more treatment.

What should you do if you think you have a brain tumor?
You should see a neurosurgeon who specializes in brain tumors at an academic center. Some neurosurgeons treat both brain and spine, but usually brain tumor specialists have the most expertise and best outcomes. Neurosurgeons at academic centers meet weekly with other specialists, and can customize the best treatment plan for you and inform you of the most recent clinical trials.

What causes brain tumors and are brain tumors rare?
Some brain tumors are caused by radiation or cancer spreading from the body to the brain. However we don’t know what causes most brain tumors. Because they are rare, we don’t have many treatments. Much more research is needed to cure brain cancer. Brain tumor research centers like the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative (UMBTI) perform cutting-edge research to develop new cures for brain cancer.

Dr. Ricardo Komotar is Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude with a BS in neuroscience from Duke University spending a year at Oxford University in England to focus on neuropharmacology. He received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with highest honors and completed his internship and neurosurgical residency at Columbia University Medical Center/ The Neurological Institute of New York, followed by a surgical neuro-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to specialize in brain tumors.

As Director of the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative, Director of Surgical Neuro-oncology at the University of Miami, Director of the UM Neurosurgery Residency Program, and Director of the UM Surgical Neuro-oncology Fellowship Program. Dr. Komotar is an internationally recognized leader in the field of brain tumors and performs nearly 700 procedures for these conditions each year using advanced cutting-edge surgical/radio surgical techniques, making him one of the highest volume brain tumor surgeons in the world.

You also can follow Dr. Ricardo Komotar on Facebook, Instagram and reach him at

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