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Forum Name: Cancer of Unknown Primary

Question: no known primary location


 jill - Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:19 am

my aunt had a brain tumor which was successfully removed. when they did the surgery, the doctors said it was cancerous and was not the primary site. she has had a history of breast cancer twice and skin cancer once. the doctors checked her thoroughly in the areas they expected to find it, but found nothing. yet they are postive, this is not the primary location. I do not know the type of cancer and as far as I know, neither do they.

She is being treated with chemo and radiation. Are there ever any chances of survival without knowing the primary site? i realize the type has alot to do with the answer, but she is responding well so far. i am wondering if it is possible it might conitinue. Thank you very much for your time.

before the cancer, she was in excellent health, 65ish female, survived cancer 3 times already and was in full remission for over 15 years. eats very well, mostly fresh veggies. sorry, i don't know the rest of her history.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:02 pm

User avatar Hello,

It will be more helpful if you can send more details about the investigations done to search for the primary tumor e.g. scans, tumor markers, of utmost importance the pathological details for the excised tumor mass etc.

Brain metastases of unknown primary origin are commonly seen of a primary lung cancer, while breast cancer, colon carcinoma, and melanoma are followed in frequency.

She has a history of both breast and melanoma cancer which as mentioned before could be a source for metastatic brain lesions. Multiple lesions are seen in brain metastases of both lung and melanoma cancers.

Although the prognosis is generally poor, therapeutic options are individualized and considerations like the general, neurologic status, number and location of brain metastases, and of utmost importance the tumor sensitivity to radiation and chemotherapy.

Treatment options of surgically resectable brain lesions become safer, less invasive, and more effective than many years ago.

A better survival is expected in patients with resectable tumors.

Hope this information is useful.
Best regards.
Keep us updated.

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