A tumor of any kind can be a stressful diagnosis, and skull base tumors can be particularly difficult because of their proximity to the spinal cord. Though it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this, our team at Charleston ENT & Allergy is here for you from your initial diagnosis to when you successfully complete treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of a Skull Base Tumor?
- Difficulty breathing
- Blurry vision
- Trouble swallowing
- Loss of smell
- Hearing loss
- Memory loss
Types of Skull Base Tumors
The prognosis for each of these tumors differs based on factors like size, placement and whether it has spread. Some are benign and cause few problems, while others are malignant and may spread quickly.
The majority of skull base tumors form in one of three areas:
- The anterior compartment of the skull base, which houses the eye sockets and sinuses, is prone to meningioma, olfactory neuroblastoma and paranasal sinus cancer.
- The central compartment, home to the pituitary gland, is the site of pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngioma and Rathke’s cleft cyst.
- The posterior compartment may be affected by acoustic neuromas, chondrosarcoma, chordoma and meningioma.
How Are These Tumors Diagnosed and Treated?
Our otolaryngologist will begin by discussing your symptoms and their impact on your daily life and performing physical and neurological examinations. They may also perform a CT scan, MRI, bone scan and positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
If a tumor is discovered, our team will create a customized treatment plan based on your individual needs and consider factors like the location of the tumor, its size and type, whether it is benign or malignant and your overall health. Options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of treatments. Because of the location, minimally invasive surgical procedures are done whenever possible.
What Are the Next Steps?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a skull base tumor, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Our team at Charleston ENT & Allergy will partner with you to determine if this is the cause of your symptoms and, if so, what treatment will serve you best. With our specialists on your team, we’re in this together.