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Leptomeningeal Tumor

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About 5 percent of patients who are battling cancer may develop a leptomeningeal tumor, or cancer that has spread to the meninges, the thin layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. While the median survival period of this condition is only about three months—there are steps doctors can take to alleviate symptoms and, in some cases, prolong life. The experts at the Florida Hospital Brain and Spinal Cord Program have the leading knowhow and state-of-the-art technology at their disposal to offer patients some of the best care available, all in our supportive, patient-centered environment. 

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A leptomeningeal tumor—also called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, leptomeningeal metastasis, neoplastic meningitis, meningeal metastasis and meningeal carcinomatosis—refers to cancer that has spread from the original tumor to the meninges, the thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord, causing the meninges to become inflamed. This can happen with any type of cancer—it occurs in about 3 to 5 percent of cancer patients—but is most common in melanoma, breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancer cases.

There is evidence that cases of central nervous system metastases, including leptomeningeal tumor, are increasing because modern medicine has prolonged the survival of cancer patients, giving the primary tumor a chance to spread to the meninges. The prognosis is poor for these tumors, with the median survival being about three months after diagnoses. Treatment is ineffective because the tumor is hard to eradicate, though radiation therapy and chemotherapy may have some palliative benefits. 

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