A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that can disrupt proper brain function. There are over 120 types of brain and central nervous system tumors. Brain and spinal cord tumors are different for everyone. They form in different areas, develop from different cell types, and may have different treatment options.
The brain is the body organ composed of nerve cells and supportive tissues like glial cells and meninges – there are three major parts – they control your activity like breathing (brain stem), an activity like moving muscles to walk (cerebellum) and your senses like sight and our memory, emotions, thinking and personality (cerebrum). This is how brain tumors are classified:
- Benign: The least aggressive type of brain tumor is often called a benign brain tumor. They originate from cells within or surrounding the brain, do not contain cancer cells, grow slowly, and typically have clear borders that do not spread into other tissue.
- Malignant: Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells and often do not have clear borders. They are considered to be life-threatening because they grow rapidly and invade surrounding brain tissue.
- Primary: Tumors that start in cells of the brain are called primary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors may spread to other parts of the brain or the spine, but rarely to other organs.
- Metastatic: Metastatic or secondary brain tumors begin in another part of the body and then spread to the brain. These tumors are more common than primary brain tumors and are named by the location in which they begin.
Types of Brain Tumours
Doctors group brain tumors by grade: grade I, grade II, grade III, or grade IV -the most severe. The grade is determined by the way the cells look under a microscope. The higher the grade number, the more abnormal the cells appear, and the more aggressively the tumor usually behaves.
The most common types of primary brain tumors among adults are astrocytoma, meningiom (a tumor that arises from the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord), and oligodendroglioma.
The most common types of primary brain tumors in children are medulloblastoma, grade I or II astrocytoma, (or glioma) ependymoma, and brain stem glioma.
Symptoms of Brain tumor:
Symptoms of brain tumors depend on the location and size of the tumor. Some tumors cause direct damage by invading brain tissue and some tumors cause pressure on the surrounding brain. You’ll have noticeable symptoms when a growing tumor is putting pressure on your brain tissue. Some of these symptoms include:
- Severe headaches that become more frequent.
- Unexplained nausea or vomiting.
- Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg.
- Difficulty with balance.
- Vision problems, such as blurred vision double vision or loss of vision.
- Speech difficulties.
- Seizures, with no previous history of seizures.
Risk factors of Brain tumors:
Although there are no known causes why Brain tumors occur certain factors highly increase a person’s risk of getting brain tumors. Here are the common risk factors:
- Family history: Only about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are genetically inherited, or hereditary. It’s rare for a brain tumor to be genetically inherited.
- Age: The risk for most types of brain tumors increases with age.
- Chemical exposure: Being exposed to hazardous chemicals at work or elsewhere can increase your risk of brain tumor.
- Exposure to radiation: People who have been exposed to ionizing radiation have an increased risk of brain tumors. This can happen during high-radiation cancer therapies.
Treatment at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital:
Treatment options for Brain tumors depend on several factors:
- The size, type, and grade of the tumor.
- Whether the tumor is putting pressure on vital parts of the brain.
- If the tumor has spread to other parts of the body.
- Possible side effects.
- The patient’s overall health.
In most cases, a brain tumor diagnosis requires immediate surgery or alternative treatment. Experts at our Centre for Neurosciences work together and create a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient. A multi-disciplinary team that includes neurosurgeons, neurologists, medical and paediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and other medical professionals may be part of the treatment team.
The standard treatment for brain tumors includes surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Advanced treatments like targeted therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and robotic surgery are also being used to treat a brain tumor. Additionally Palliative care, as well as neuro-rehabilitaion services, help support the patient’s recovery.
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