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Who is Most at Risk for Developing Metastatic Brain Cancer?

Who is Most at Risk for Developing Metastatic Brain Cancer?

When you first heard your cancer diagnosis, you thought it couldn’t get any worse. Then you learned that it could spread to other parts of your body. 

Sometimes, cancer cells break away from the original site and travel in your bloodstream searching for other places to set up shop, a process called metastasis. When it spreads to your brain, it’s called metastatic brain cancer.

Fortunately, Jose Valerio, MD, specializes in treating metastatic brain cancer. Recognized by the American Brain Tumor Association, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Musella Foundation for his excellence in research and practice, Dr. Valerio is one of the most experienced brain surgeons in Florida. 

As a fellowship-trained neurosurgical oncologist, Dr. Valerio treats metastatic brain cancer that spreads from various primary sources. Here, he discusses the specific risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing metastatic brain cancer.

Am I at risk for metastatic brain cancer?

Any type of cancer can spread to your brain, but some are more likely than others. What’s more, your age and sex may play a role as well. Here are the known risk factors for metastatic brain cancer.


Melanoma, the most aggressive and deadliest form of skin cancer, is notorious for its tendency to spread quickly. Cells break off from the skin lesions and enter the blood and lymphatic system. They often land in the liver, spleen, lungs, and brain.

Lung cancer

Up to 40% of people with lung cancer develop metastatic brain cancer. Because this is a very aggressive type of cancer, early detection is critical.

Breast cancer

If you have stage IV breast cancer, you have a 10%-15% chance of developing metastatic brain cancer as well. The types of breast cancer most likely to spread to the brain are the subtypes triple negative and HER2-positive. 

Renal cancer

Another fast-spreading cancer, renal cancer spreads to the brain in about 4% of patients. Unfortunately, it’s often asymptomatic. That’s why it’s critically important to establish a baseline brain image if you have kidney cancer, and that you see Dr. Valerio regularly for new imaging. 

Colon cancer

More than half of people who have colorectal cancer will also develop metastatic cancer of some sort, but less than 2% develop brain metastasis. Despite the seemingly safe statistic, colon cancer is still considered one of the most likely types to metastasize to the brain. 


Although anyone can develop metastatic brain cancer, it’s more common in adults than children. You’re at a higher risk if you’re between the ages of 45 and 65


While metastatic brain cancer typically doesn’t discriminate based on sex, and both genders are equally susceptible, women with breast cancer are more likely than men to develop metastatic brain cancer, and men with lung cancer are more likely to get it than women with lung cancer.

What to do if you have metastatic brain cancer

If you have melanoma, kidney, colon, breast, or lung cancer, it’s important to start working with Dr. Valerio right away so he can monitor your brain and catch any signs of metastasis before you experience symptoms. About 200,000 people every year find out that their cancer has spread to their brain, and their best chance of survival is early detection and treatment. 

Dr. Valerio uses the most advanced technology and evidence-based treatments to reduce your symptoms and remove your brain tumor or tumors. 

He may perform a gamma knife procedure, which uses incision-less radiosurgery; a craniotomy, which involves removing a section of your skull to access the tumor; or parafascicular surgery, a minimally invasive way to access deep tumors.

Whichever treatment is necessary, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands with Dr. Valerio. Not only is he a highly skilled, award-winning brain surgeon, he also approaches his patients with great care and compassion. 

To learn more about metastatic brain cancer and the treatments available, schedule a consultation by booking online or calling any of our three Florida locations in South Miami, Hialeah, or Weston today. 

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