A primary brain tumor is a group (mass) of abnormal cells that start in the brain. The growth of a tumor takes up space within the skull and can arise from the brain cells, the membranes around the brain (meninges), nerves, or glands.
A brain tumor can cause damage by increasing pressure in the brain, by shifting the brain or pushing against the skull, and by invading and damaging nerves and healthy brain tissue. However, brain tumors rarely metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body outside of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord.
In adults, gliomas and meningiomas are most common type of brain tumors.
Gliomas come from glial cells and are divided into three types:
Meningiomas are another type of brain tumor. These tumors:
- Astrocytic tumors include astrocytomas (less malignant), anaplastic astrocytomas, and glioblastomas (most malignant).
- Oligodendroglial tumors also can vary from less malignant to very malignant
- Glioblastomas are the most aggressive type of primary brain tumor.
- Occur most commonly between the ages of 40 - 70
- Are much more common in women
- Are usually (90% of the time) benign, but still may cause devastating complications and death due to their size or location. Some are cancerous and aggressive.
There is no known cause of brain tumor. Brain tumor can occur at any age, but most common in two major age groups: age 4-12 and age 40-70. Workers in certain industries are at a higher risk for brain cancer than workers in other industries, i.e: rubber manufacturing, drug manufacturing, and oil refining. People who have had radiotherapy to the head in the past are having higher risk of getting brain tumor in the future.
Up to 5 of every 100 brain tumours (5%) are also related to genetic conditions. If you have a parent, brother or sister diagnosed with a tumour of the nervous system, your risk is about double that of other people. Other groups at slightly increased risk are children with cerebral palsy and people with a weakened immune system.
Headaches are a common initial symptom of brain tumor. Typical "brain tumor headaches" are often described as worse in the morning (sometimes accompanied with vomits), with improvement gradually during the day. These headaches may worsen with coughing, exercise, or with a change in position such as bending or kneeling. They also do not typically respond to the usual headache remedies.
Other symptoms include: seizures or convulsions; difficulty thinking, speaking, or finding words; personality changes; weakness or paralysis in one part or one side of the body; loss of balance; vision changes; confusion and disorientation; and memory loss.
Surgery is the usual treatment for most brain tumors. To remove a brain tumor, a neurosurgeon makes an opening in the skull. This operation is called a craniotomy.
Radiation therapy, is often used to destroy tumor tissue that cannot be removed with surgery or to kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery. Radiation therapy also is used when surgery is not possible.
The Gamma Knife, or stereotactic radiosurgery, is another way to treat brain tumors. The Gamma Knife isn't actually a knife, but a radiation therapy technique that delivers a single, finely focused, high dose of radiation precisely to its target.
Tag: tumor, brain tumor, brain tumors, brain tumor symptoms, brain cancer, meningioma, radiation, glioblastoma, glioma, gamma knife
Compiled by: www.cancerhelps.com