Skull Base Tumor Symptoms
Symptoms of skull base tumors vary depending on their location and whether they're compressing nerves or blocking the flow of blood or fluid around the brain. Common symptoms include:
- Changes in sight, smell, hearing, or taste
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing through the nose or mouth
- Memory loss
- Ringing in the ears or other tinnitus symptoms
- Unexplained stuffiness or nose bleeds
Types of Skull Base Tumors
These rare tumors most often grow on the side (lateral) or front (anterior) of the skull, on nerves, and inside the ear. Although rare, they can be cancerous. Some of the more common types of skull base tumors are:
Your Skull Base Tumor Care Team
Each type of skull base tumor requires a unique treatment approach. These can range from watchful waiting to medication, radiation therapy, and surgery. The first step is identifying the type and location of your tumor with imaging scans and testing your hearing, balance, vision, facial nerves, and muscle activity. In some cases, your doctors may collect a small sample of cells from your tumor to learn more about it.
Many specialists are involved in treating skull base tumors, including otologists/neurotologists, neurosurgeons, sinus specialists, and neuro-ophthalmologists. Our experts are constantly developing new techniques, testing new treatments, and applying the latest research to improve your care and outcomes. Our doctors meet regularly to review imaging results and determine the best course of treatment for each individual.
Skull Base Surgeons
Our skull base surgeons have completed advanced training to become experts in head and neck surgery and neurosurgery, including minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. Because of the locations of these tumors and how they can affect your senses, your team may include both ear, nose, and throat surgeons and neurosurgeons.
Radiation treatment, including stereotactic radiosurgery, may be recommended alone or in addition to surgery. Your radiation oncologist will lead a team of radiation therapists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, and nurses who work together to optimize your experience and outcome.
A plastic reconstructive surgeon who specializes in the head and neck may also be part of your team, if needed.
What to Expect: Skull Base Tumor Treatment at Duke