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Skull Base Tumors

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Care for Your Body, Mind and Spirit

Everyone’s journey to whole health is unique. When you find yourself on a path you didn’t expect, know that AdventHealth is here for you. We’ll be by your side every step of the way, from the moment you receive a skull base tumor diagnosis until after you’ve completed treatment. 

We understand that a brain tumor diagnosis is overwhelming. That’s why we take the time to give you the information and knowledge you need to feel confident in the care you receive. 

Understanding Skull Base Tumors

Caring for Your Health, Advocating for You

You’ll find yourself surrounded by family, friends and caregivers who are dedicated to supporting you as you navigate a new diagnosis and treatment options. 

Rest easier knowing we’re always here to help answer your questions, explain the details and guide you to all the resources you need. You’re never alone.

What Is a Skull Base Tumor?

The skull base begins behind the eyes and nose and slopes down to the back of the head. A skull base tumor is any type of tumor that begins or extends into this area. 

Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). 

Common benign skull base tumors include:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Cholesterol granuloma, epidermoid and dermoid cysts
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Fibro-osseous Lesions
  • Hemangioma
  • Inverting papilloma
  • Lipoma
  • Paraganglioma
  • Schwannomas

Common malignant skull base tumors include:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma or olfactory neuroblastoma
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Certain head and neck tumors can also grow into the skull base, including salivary gland tumors and some skin cancers.

What Are the Symptoms of Skull Base Tumors?

Skull base tumor symptoms can vary widely based on the type, size and location of the tumor. The most common symptoms include:

  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Facial pain or numbness
  • Facial weakness or paralysis
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Lumps on the neck
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss
  • Hoarse voice
  • Nosebleeds
  • Recurrent sinus problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stopped up nose
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo
  • Vision loss

How Is a Skull Base Tumor Diagnosed?

Skull base tumor symptoms can often be confused for other conditions. If you continue to experience troubling symptoms, and other treatments don’t work, your doctor may order additional diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out the presence of a tumor. 

Imaging tests

A computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help your doctors make a skull base tumor diagnosis by identifying the presence, size and location of a skull base tumor.


If your doctor finds a suspicious growth during your imaging test, a biopsy will likely be ordered. During this procedure, a small sample of cells will be collected on and around the growth to determine the tumor type. Once a pathologist studies the cells and diagnoses your tumor, you and your doctor will be able to create a tailored treatment plan that’s right for you. 

Functional testing

Your doctor may order additional tests to determine how the tumor may be affecting your:

  • Balance
  • Cognition
  • Hearing
  • Hormone production
  • Memory 
  • Sense of smell
  • Swallowing
  • Vision
  • Vocal cords

How Is a Skull Base Tumor Treated?

Skull base tumor treatment will depend on the type, location and size of the tumor, as well as how it’s impacting your life. Your doctor will discuss the best treatment plan for you, which may include:

Skull Base Tumor Care

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When you’re facing a brain tumor diagnosis, you want an experienced, compassionate team by your side. That’s what you’ll find at AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute. Our entire team is dedicated to healing your body, mind and spirit.