Bowel to Brain: Removing Metastasized Cancer


BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Cancer that metastasizes to the brain can be one of the most difficult to fight. So, doctors are incorporating new tools to beat this deadly foe. Metastasized Cancer.

Dorothy Barber was diagnosed with bowel cancer that had spread into 19 lymph nodes after experiencing pain in her side for two years. She underwent surgery, chemo and immunotherapy for 14 months. Then, she started experiencing something new.

“I started with what I thought was vertigo, and I had some dizziness, balance issues,” Dorothy recalls.

Imaging showed an adenocarcinoma — cancer of the brain.

“They discovered a grape-sized tumor near my cerebellum and spinal cord,” she adds.

Mercy Medical Center neurosurgeon, Dr. Jon McIver utilized this stealth navigation system to map out the tumor before surgery. In surgery, he made a very small incision.

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“Then, we can travel through the brain, separating pathways until we find the tumor. The challenge in our patient’s case was the tumor wasn’t here on the surface, it was all the way back here,” Dr. McIver explains to Ivanhoe.

Dorothy says, “They biopsied the tumor that they removed, and they found that it was the same cancer from my bowel.”

With the tumor removed, Dorothy got another surprise – a song her husband had written just for her.

Dr. McIver says what’s groundbreaking in brain cancer treatment is pairing neuro-mapping and surgery with immunotherapy, because it primes the immune system to recognize the tumor cells as foreign.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: Cancer that metastasizes to the brain, also known as brain metastases, occurs when cancer cells from primary tumors in other parts of the body migrate to the brain. This process involves a series of steps including detachment of cancer cells from the primary tumor, invasion into blood vessels or lymphatic vessels, survival in the circulation, and penetration of the blood-brain barrier to establish secondary tumors in the brain. Brain metastasis is the most common type of brain tumor occurring in adults. The five year survival rate for a cancerous brain tumor is 36 percent. Metastasized Cancer


SYMPTOMS & DIAGNOSING: The sizing and symptoms from brain metastases can differ depending on the location, size, and speed of growing the metastatic tumor has. For brain metastases common symptoms include, headaches, vomiting and nausea, memory issues, seizures, and weakness or numbness on one side of the body. The diagnosing of a metastatic brain tumor will include a physical exam, a neurological exam, a CT or CAT scan, an MRI, and a biopsy. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug treatments, immunotherapy, and clinical trials.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Jon Mclver, M.D, a neurosurgeon from The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, uses a stealth navigation system to map out tumors before surgery. The navigation system allows assurance of reaction to tumors. The system allows for preoperative planning of cranial neurosurgery and guidance. Doctors are allowed to see on screen, separated pathways until they can locate the tumor.



Dan Collins

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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Dr. McIver, Neurosurgeon

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