Brain Procedures

Brain Tumors

A brain tumor is a growth (‘mass’) of abnormal cells in the brain. There are several different types of brain tumors. Not all brain tumors are cancerous (malignant). Some are non-cancerous (benign), but can cause serious symptoms because the skull is rigid, and therefore any tumor can put pressure on delicate brain tissue. Brain tumors can be primary brain tumors (originating in the brain) or secondary brain tumors (originating elsewhere in the body and spreading to the brain). Primary brain tumors are not as common as secondary brain tumors that have spread (metastasized) from elsewhere in the body. How quickly a brain tumor grows depends on the type of tumor. The location and size of the tumor will influence the symptoms that may be experienced.

Symptoms of a brain tumor may include:

  • Headache (new headache, change in headache pattern, more frequent or severe headaches)
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Behavior and/or personality changes
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Vision changes (blurred or double vision, loss of peripheral vision)
  • Loss of movement or sensation in a limb or limbs
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Seizures

Brain tumors that begin in the brain include gliomas, meningiomas and astrocytomas. These tumors get their names from the types of cells involved.

Secondary brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors. Certain forms of cancer are more likely to spread to the brain than others, including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Melanoma (a type of skin cancer)
  • Kidney cancer

Brain tumors are diagnosed by a combination of neurological exam (physical exam focusing on brain and nerve function), imaging tests such as CT and MRI and brain biopsy. Treatment depends on the type and size of brain tumor and may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or drug therapy (or a combination of one of more of these).

Dear Dr. Lowry,

Mere words cannot begin to express how grateful we are for the outcome of Karen’s recent Craniotomy. We praise God for this miracle! But we also applaud you & your team for your tremendous skills in being able to physically bring about this wonderful result.

We so admire the dedication and stamina required for your doctors to be able to perform nine hours of surgery in such a highly sensitive area. Your credentials are indeed impressive and this outcome is yet another testimony to your skills. Your fellow health care professionals all hold you both in very high regard. Please add our names to that list as we value your team. We also appreciate the excellent follow-up in your office and the genuine concern for Karen’s well being. We also applaud you for your service to the Hope College Board of Trustees.

You and the patients you care for in the future, will be in our thoughts & prayers on a daily basis. Thank you again for this “miracle”!!




— TP