About, Diagnosis & Treatment for Metastatic Brain and Spinal Tumors

Brain metastases is a condition in which cancer cells spread from elsewhere in the body into the brain. They can also spread and press against the spine or circulate in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that bathes the brain and spinal cord, a condition called carcinomatosis, leptomeningeal disease or neoplastic meningitis. Doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center are experts in the treatment of these tumors.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms of brain metastases include headaches, balance problems, nausea, mental status decline, weakness or loss of sensation in the face or elsewhere on one side of the body or difficulties with vision, hearing or swallowing, among others.

Diagnosis is usually made with advanced imaging such as CT scans or MRI. If the diagnosis is in question, surgery is often an option. Less commonly, other studies such as lumbar puncture (spinal tap) are used.


Treatment for brain and spinal cord metastases may include any combination of radiation therapy, radiosurgery, surgery, biologic, chemotherapy or immunotherapy delivered either systemically, directly to the spinal fluid or a combination of both.

Our multispecialty team of physicians offers expertise in different areas, including neurological oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and medical oncology. Our physicians work together to offer you the latest neurological and brain tumor treatment options, including the clinical trials. Our doctors discuss all treatment recommendations with you, weighing the risks and benefits of each type of treatment.