Donate to Cranial Base Tumors Research, Patient Care and Education

Cranial base tumors are tumors that form at the base of the skull and can spread to other areas of the body. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help neurologists and neurosurgeons at Northwestern Medicine to further advance research and treatment methods that will benefit patients with cranial base tumors.

Because there are many types of cranial base tumors, and because they have such an ability to spread, it is critical that a patient consults with his or her physician to determine his or her specific type of tumor. Most symptoms appear only after the tumor has already grown. As the tumor grows, pressure is applied to vital structures of the brain, such as the pituitary gland, optic nerve and carotid arteries. Symptoms that may indicate a cranial base tumor include:

  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Altered sense of smell
  • Hearing loss

Additional symptoms include loss of balance, memory loss, nausea and vomiting.

The exact cause of cranial base tumors is currently unknown. There are certain risk factors that may increase the chance of developing cranial base tumors. These risk factors include previous radiation therapy on the head, certain genetic conditions and exposure to chemicals, herbicides and vinyl chlorine. Physicians at Northwestern Medicine use cutting-edge technology to diagnose skull base tumors. Diagnostic methods include a physical exam (including family and personal history, along with symptoms), a neurological exam and CT, MRI and PET scans as necessary. With the help of your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, neurologists and neurosurgeons at Northwestern Medicine will continue to diagnose and treat cranial base tumors in the most contemporary and most effective manner.

Cranial base tumors often require surgery to remove the tumor before it advances to other areas of the body and puts pressure on critical parts of the brain and nerves. Northwestern Medicine’s neurosurgeons are able to remove tumors and malformations, once considered unreachable, using leading-edge imaging and surgical techniques. A more precise surgery, called Gamma Knife radiosurgery, may be an option. This surgery is safer and causes less damage to the surrounding tissue. If brain surgery is not an option for a person with a cranial base tumor, other non-surgical procedures, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and ultra-precise proton therapy, may be beneficial. Every person’s treatment plan will be unique and will be based on the recommendations of the patient’s medical team.

Cranial Base Tumors Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Thanks to generous support, Northwestern Medicine is at the forefront of diagnosing and treating cranial base tumors. Research has led to breakthrough treatment plans that greatly improve the daily lives and long-term prognoses of patients with cranial base tumors. When you make a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will offer essential support patients and care providers alike at Northwestern Medicine, as they strive to conquer cranial base tumors.

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