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What are Skull Base Tumors?

headache and MRI
The skull base is divided into two areas: 
  • Anterior skull base: where the bone and the brain meet the nasal sinus cavity.
  • Lateral skull base: where the bones near the ear meet the brain.
Together, these two areas form the floor (base) of the skull, where skull base tumors originate.

Skull base tumors can extend into the sinus cavity, the region of the ear and/or into the brain. Skull base tumors are some of the most complex and challenging types of tumors to treat. Due to the location of these tumors (near the brain, spinal cord and critical nerves within the head and neck), they require advanced diagnostic and treatment technology combined with the expertise of highly skilled otorhinolaryngologists and neurosurgeons. 

Symptoms of Skull Base Tumors

Symptoms of skull base tumors will vary depending on the type, location and size of the tumor. Symptoms may appear gradually over time as the tumor grows and put pressure on areas of the brain. If the skull base tumor involves the sinuses, you may experience problems with sense of smell and breathing. If the pituitary gland is involved, you may experience problems with hormones and vision.

Common symptoms of skull base tumors include:

  • Altered sense of smell
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of balance
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nose bleeds
  • Trouble swallowing