Management of brain metastases
Brain metastases usually develop in patients with disseminated systemic disease. Effective palliation is available for the vast majority of patients with brain metastases, but many will die within 6 months, usually from progressive systemic tumor. However, in a substantial proportion of patients, a vigorous therapeutic approach using surgery, radiotherapy, and possibly chemotherapy leads to years of productive life. Recurrent brain metastases can often be retreated using newer techniques of brachytherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery as well as conventional treatments. Brain metastases do not necessarily mean imminent death for every patient, and physicians can now offer patients a growing range of therapeutic options. Furthermore, attention to symptomatic therapies can improve the quality of life for all patients, even those whose survival will be relatively short.