Brain Tumor

The neurological experts at MaineHealth offer complete treatment for brain tumors and spinal cord tumors. Local doctors refer patients with brain tumors and spinal cord tumors to Maine Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute for highly specialized, skilled care. Each year MMC treats hundreds of patients with brain and spinal tumors, including some of the most difficult cases in the state.

Patients meet with teams of specialists and have access to clinical trials with new approaches to cancer treatment. Brain tumor specialists and patient navigators coordinate care with family doctors to provide personalized, compassionate support to patients and their families.

What is a brain tumor?

A brain tumor forms when abnormal tissue grows in the brain or central spine. Brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. 

Brain tumor symptoms

Brain tumor symptoms can vary depending on where the tumor is located in the brain. Sometimes a person may be diagnosed with a brain tumor, even though there may be no symptoms of a problem.

Common brain tumor symptoms include:

  • Headaches that won’t go away or keep coming back

  • Visions problems

  • Seizures

  • Problems speaking or understanding what others say

  • Change in personality

  • Short-term memory loss

  • Confusion

  • Problems walking

  • Dizziness, balance problems

  • Weak on one side of your body

Diagnosing brain tumors

If you have brain tumor symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. The following is a list of common tests doctors use to diagnose a brain tumor:

  • MRI

  • CT or CAT scan

  • PET scan

  • Cerebral arteriogram, also called a cerebral angiogram (X-ray of the head)

  • Lumbar puncture or spinal tap

  • Myelogram (special X-ray of the spinal cord)

  • Biopsy

  • Neurological tests of your vision, hearing and brain function

  • Neurocognitive assessment (checks all brain functions)

  • EEG

  • Evoked potentials (measures electrical activity of nerves)

Brain tumor treatment

Brain tumor treatment is based on the patient’s age and health. Treatment also depends on the type of tumor, the tumor size and tumor location. The main types of treatment are:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation

  • Chemotherapy

  • Targeted therapy

Advanced care for the brain and spine

The Neuroscience Institute at Maine Medical Center in Greater Portland provides nationally recognized expertise for complex neurological conditions that include brain tumors. Specialists partner with community doctors to offer advanced specialty technology and skilled care in areas that include neuro-oncology, neuro critical care, neurosurgery and neuro pediatrics.