Brain metastasis: clinical manifestations, symptom management, and palliative care

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Handb Clin Neurol


Patients who have brain metastases can suffer from a medley of symptoms, including headaches, seizures, cognitive impairment, fatigue, and focal deficits. As therapies have evolved, so has the management of these symptoms as patients survive longer. This chapter focuses on the clinical presentation of brain metastases, the treatment of those symptoms, and palliation in end-of-life management. Brain metastases are the most common cerebral malignancy. They can present with various symptoms, which can have significant impact on patients' quality of life throughout the course of their disease. Most of these symptoms are related to direct brain compression from the tumor or from edema. The location of the metastases will determine the focal deficits incurred and most patients will be on a course of steroids tapered according to their clinical status. The chapter includes a list of potential side-effects and considerations for management. Palliative care is an essential and important part of approaching patients with metastases. Early and clear communication about end-of-life decision making is encouraged with multiple easily accessible tools. For patients near the end of life, comfort is the ultimate goal in providing a good quality of life.

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Brain Neoplasms; Cognition Disorders; Humans; Nervous System Diseases; Palliative Care; Quality of Life; Terminal Care

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