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Home > Symptom > Brain Tumor

Brain Tumor

Brain Tumor

Based on the brain tissues they affect, there are over 120 different forms of brain tumors. Even benign (or noncancerous) brain tumors can be harmful due to their size or location as not all brain tumors are cancer. Both toddlers and adults can develop benign or malignant (cancerous) brain tumors. Brain tumors can affect your brain function whether or not they are cancerous if they enlarge to the point where they press against nearby tissues. There are numerous ways to treat brain tumors.

What is Brain Tumor?

An abnormal mass of cells growing inside or outside of your brain is called a brain tumor. Central nervous system (CNS) cancers are the collective term used for spinal tumors and brain tumors.

Brain tumors may be benign or malignant (cancerous/noncancerous). The growth of these tumors also varies with time.

Only one-third of all brain tumors are malignant. However, whether or not they are cancerous, brain tumors can affect your health and the way your brain functions if they enlarge to the point where they strain nearby nerves, blood vessels, and tissue.

Primary tumors are tumors that form in the brain. Also called metastatic brain tumors, secondary tumors are cancers that develop in some other part of the body before spreading to the brain.

What are the Types of Brain Tumors?

Over 150 different types of brain tumors have been identified by researchers.

Glial or non-glial primary tumors are classified as benign or malignant. Glial primary tumors comprise of glial cells in the brain while non-glial primary tumors are formed on or in the structures of the brain (including arteries, nerves and glands)

Primary Brain tumors

Primary brain tumors originate in your brain. They can develop from your:

  • brain cells
  • the meninges, which are the membranes that surround your brain.
  • nerve cells
  • glands, such as the pituitary of pineal

Primary tumors can be malignant or benign. The most common types of brain tumors in adults include glioma and meningioma.

Gliomas

Gliomas are tumors that develop from glial cells. These cells normally:

  • support the structure of your central nervous system
  • provide nutrition to your central nervous system
  • clean cellular waste
  • break down dead neurons

Different types of glial cells can contribute to the development of Gliomas.

Glial cell tumors can have the following forms:

  • Astrocytoma are an example of an astrocytic tumor that develops in the brain.
  • The frontal and temporal lobes are frequently affected by oligodendroglial malignancies.
  • Glioblastomas are the most aggressive type of gliomas, and they develop in the brain's supporting tissue.

Other Primary Brain Tumors

Other primary brain tumors include

  • Benign or malignant tumors of the pineal gland
  • Ependymomas are often benign tumors.
  • Although benign and more common in youngsters, craniopharyngiomas can cause clinical symptoms such eyesight abnormalities and early puberty.
  • Primary, cancerous, central nervous system (CNS) lymphomas
  • Initial brain germ cell tumors that may be malignant or benign
  • Meningioma are tumors that start in the meninges.
  • Schwann cells, which generate the myelin sheath that covers your nerves, are the source of schwannomas.

According to a study that grouped participants into men and women, meningiomas are diagnosed more frequently in women than in men.

Schwannomas occur equally in both men and women. Although these tumors are mostly benign, their size and location can lead to difficulties. Although uncommon, aggressive cancerous schwannomas and meningiomas can exist.

Secondary Brain Tumors

Most of the brain malignancies comprise of secondary tumors. They start in a single area of the body and metastasis, while spreading to the brain.

Malignant secondary brain tumors are unavoidable.

How serious are Brain Tumors?

Whether or not they are malignant, brain tumors can have catastrophic consequences. This is due to the rigidity of your skull, which prevents the tumor from growing. A tumor if developing near brain parts that control vital functions, may cause symptoms, such as:

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Problems with balance
  • Partial or complete loss of vision
  • Difficulty understanding or using language
  • Memory issues

Brain tumors can cause problems by:

  • directly killing healthy brain tissue by infiltrating it
  • Putting pressure on nearby tissue
  • Raising the pressure inside your skull (intracranial pressure)
  • Causing fluid to build up in your brain
  • expanding the gaps inside your brain by obstructing the natural flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through those spaces
  • Causing bleeding in your brain

What are the Risk Factors for a Brain Tumor?

Risk factors for brain tumors include:

Family history

Of all malignancies, only 5 to 10 percent are hereditary or genetically inherited. Rarely does a brain tumor have a hereditary component. If numerous members of your family have been told they have brain tumors, consult your doctor.

Age

Age increases the risk for the majority of brain tumor types.

Chemical exposure

Exposure to certain chemicals like ones you would encounter at work pose risks.

Exposure to radiation

Ionizing radiation exposure increases the risk of developing brain cancers in people. High-radiation cancer therapy is associated with Ionizing radiation, a risk contributor.

What are the Symptoms of a Brain Tumor?

The size & positioning of the tumor affects its symptoms. Some tumors directly harm brain tissue, while others put pressure nearby.

When a growing tumor is exerting pressure on your brain tissue, you'll experience visible symptoms.

A common sign of a brain tumor is headaches. You might have headaches that:

  • are worse in the morning when waking up
  • occur while you’re sleeping
  • are made worse by coughing, sneezing, or exercise

You may also experience:

  • vomiting
  • blurred vision or double vision
  • confusion
  • seizures (especially in adults)
  • weakness of a limb or part of the face
  • a change in mental functioning

Other Common Symptoms of Brain Tumor include:

  • clumsiness
  • memory loss
  • confusion
  • difficulty writing or reading
  • changes in hearing, taste, or smell
  • decreased alertness
  • Drowsiness/loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • dizziness
  • eye problems, such as drooping eyelids and unequal pupils
  • uncontrollable movements
  • hand tremors
  • loss of balance
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  • trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying
  • changes in mood, personality, emotions, and behaviour
  • difficulty walking
  • muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg

Symptoms of Pituitary Tumors

Pituitary tumor symptoms include the following:

  • nipple discharge, or galactorrhea
  • lack of menstruation in women
  • development of breast tissue in men, or gynecomastia
  • enlargement of the hands and feet
  • sensitivity to heat or cold
  • increased amounts of body hair, or hirsutism
  • low blood pressure
  • obesity
  • changes in vision, such as blurry vision or tunnel vision

How are Brain Tumors Diagnosed?

The Physical examination thorough neurological evaluation and review of one’s medical history make up the first steps to diagnosing a brain tumor.

Your cranial nerves will be tested by your doctor to determine whether they are healthy. These nerves have their roots in your brain.

With the aid of an ophthalmoscope, which is a device that flashes light through your pupils and onto your retinas, the doctor will examine the inside of your eyes to evaluate the response to light.

This helps the doctor to check for any optic nerve enlargement. The optic nerve might change when the pressure inside the skull builds.

The doctor may also evaluate:

  • muscle strength
  • coordination
  • memory
  • ability to do mathematical calculations

Following the physical examination, your doctor can recommend additional tests. These might consist of:

CT scan of the head

A CT scan can help in thorough evaluation of the head compared to an X-ray scanner. Either contrast or no contrast can be used in this.

A specific dye is used to provide contrast during a CT scan of the head, which enables medical professionals to view some structures more clearly, such as blood arteries.

MRI of the head

Your doctor may employ a specialised dye during a head MRI to aid in the detection of cancers. A CT scan uses radiation, whereas an MRI doesn't, and typically produces considerably more detailed images of the actual structures of the brain.

Angiography

A dye injected into the arteries is used in this procedure. It enables your doctor to observe how the tumors' blood supply appears which is useful at the time of surgery

Skull X-rays

Specific X-rays can reveal if there have been any fractures or breaks in the skull's bones due to brain tumors. These X-rays can detect calcium deposits, which are occasionally found inside tumors. If your cancer has spread to your bones, calcium deposits could be present in your circulation.

Biopsy

During a biopsy, a small bit of the tumor is removed which is examined by a neuro-pathologist. Whether the tumor cells are benign or malignant will be determined by the biopsy. It will also reveal whether your brain or another area of your body was the cancer's original location.

Treatment of Brain Tumors

The Brain tumor treatment depends on:

  • the type of tumor
  • the size of the tumor
  • the location of the tumor
  • your general health

Surgery forms the most common treatment for cancerous brain tumors with the aim of eliminating as much of the cancer as possible.

Brain cancer can benefit from even partial removal of the tumors, which can be safely removed depending on their position,

Brain surgery has risks, such as haemorrhage and infection. Surgery also helps remove clinically threatening benign tumors.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two examples of additional treatments that can be coupled with surgery.

You can recover from neurosurgery with the aid of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

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