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Brain Tumor: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Brain Tumor: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Neurosciences | Posted on 07/13/2023 by Dr. Amit Chakrabarty



Introduction

Brain tumors have always engrossed the notice of clinical professionals, scientists, and inquisitive minds alike. Even after the elevation in our comprehension of the human brain, brain tumors remain to pose different and intricate challenges. The complexities of the challenges, patterns of growth, and probable treatment have led to sparking a persistent zeal for knowledge and unique approaches for combating these formidable challenges. 

If you suspect that you might be suffering from a brain tumor condition, then don’t overlook the signs and consult the best multispeciality hospital, CK Birla Hospital, Jaipur. You will discover the best diagnosis with the best options for brain tumor treatment here. In this blog, we will be exploring everything that’s related to brain tumors, involving benign growths causing less disruption to malignant tumors which are life-threatening.

What is a Brain Tumor?

A brain tumor is an unusual development or mass of cells in the brain or around the brain. Spinal and brain tumors together are referred to as central nervous system tumors. Brain tumors are known to be both cancerous and non-cancerous. As per research, it is found that some tumors develop very fast, while others' growth is gradual.

It is also discovered in a study that around one-third of brain tumors are malignant. However, even if they are cancerous or not, brain tumors can create an impact on the functioning of the brain and health if it develops massive enough to press on neighboring nerves, tissues, and blood vessels. Tumors that grow in the brain are known as primary tumors while tumors spreading to the brain after formation in different parts of the body are known as secondary tumors.

What are the brain tumor types?

Healthcare experts have divided it into two categories which are primary as glial and secondary tumors as non-glial. The types of brain tumors are categorized into benign and malignant. So, let’s see the types for both tumor types:

Benign tumors

There are various types of brain tumors that are benign. It includes: 

  • Chordmas: Develop at the base of the skull and the spine’s bottom. These are slow-growing tumors and completely benign. 
  • Craniopharyngiomas: They develop from the pituitary gland portion and are complex to be removed from the brain.
  • Gangliocytomas: They are formed in neurons or also known as nerve cells 
  • Glomus jugular: The most common form of glomus tumor located under the skull base and the neck vein top. 
  • Meningiomas: These are part of primary brain tumors and grow gradually. These are formed in the tissue layer protecting the brain and spinal cord. 
  • Pineocytomas: These are slow-growing tumors formed in the pineal gland
  • Pituitary adenomas: Formed in the pituitary gland, these tumors have the efficiency of controlling hormones in the body
  • Schwannomas: They are common in adults and are mostly benign. These tumors grow from Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system 
  • Acoustic neuromas: These are the common form of schwannoma and are formed on the vestibular eye. 

Malignant tumors

Here are some of the brain tumor types which are malignant:

  • Astrocytoma: These are the most common glioma tumor types. These are formed in the glial cells which are star-shaped and are known as astrocytes. 
  • Ependymomas: These tumors develop near the brain ventricles often 
  • Glioblastoma: The tumors are formed in glial cells known as astrocytes. 
  • Oligodendroglioma: These are not the common tumor cells creating myelin. 
  • Medulloblastoma: It is another form of brain tumor and is cancerous. These are most common among children.

What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?

Brain tumor symptoms depend on its type, size, and location. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of brain tumor: 

  • Vision problems 
  • Hearing problems 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Numbness on the face 
  • Tingling feeling 
  • Personality changes 
  • Balance issues
  • Seizures 
  • Severe headaches 
  • Weakness or paralysis 
  • Difficulty thinking 
  • Disorientation 
  • Confusion

How do brain tumors form?

Brain tumors form when cells in the brain or near the brain experience changes in the DNA that has the guide which tells the cell what to do. The alteration in the brain tells the cells to develop fast and carry on living when healthy cells are dead as part of a natural life cycle. This leads to forming additional cells in the brain which causes a growth that is known as a tumor. 

It is not fully understood what the reasons for DNA changes leading to brain tumors. For a lot of people with brain tumors, the cause is mostly not known. At times, parents can pass the changes in DNA to their children. These changes can lead to enhancing the risk of developing a brain tumor. However, these hereditary changes are not common.

How is a brain tumor diagnosed?

Brain tumor diagnosis can be an intricate process and might involve various experts. In certain cases, however, healthcare professionals might involve imaging tests to discover a brain tumor. While initiating the brain tumor diagnosis, here is what will be included by an expert. First, the doctor will begin with the physical evaluation such as understanding the symptoms, past and current medical health conditions, etc. Other than that, here are some of the tests that help in diagnosing the brain tumor condition in a better way:

  • Brain MRI: It helps in viewing the size of a brain tumor and the correct position in a particular way. This test also assists the doctor to look around the other body parts to confirm if the tumor hasn’t spread. 
  • Biopsy: It is performed to detect the tumor type and know if it is malignant or benign. A stereotactic biopsy is performed if the tumor is difficult to reach. 
  • Spinal tap: This procedure is performed with the use of a needle for removing the cerebrospinal fluid from around the spine. Through the laboratory, the fluid is examined to detect cancerous cells. 
  • Specialized tests: There are other tests that are performed to check the blood and cerebrospinal fluid for substances that involve releasing tumor markers. The tests also help in testing for genetic anomalies having the traits of tumors.

What are the options for brain tumor treatment?

When it comes to brain tumor treatment, healthcare experts consider the combination of therapies. Here are some of the options for brain tumor treatment: 

  • Brain surgery: It is performed by neurosurgeons for tumor removal. The surgery is performed very cautiously to reduce the harm to functional brain areas. 
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment is used for destroying the brain tumor cells or shrinking the type of tumor. 
  • Radiosurgery: This treatment option involves the use of radiation-focused beams for shrinking the tumor cells. However, it is not a proper surgery but needs an incision while performed. 
  • Brachytherapy: It is another form of radiation therapy treatment and comprises radioactive seeds, capsules, and implants in or around the malignant tumor. 
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment type involves the anticancer drugs used for killing cancerous cells in the brain and throughout the body. It is recommended after surgery for killing the cancer cells left behind or preventing the remaining cells from developing. 
  • Immunotherapy: It is also known as biological therapy used for fighting cancer. It involves the stimulation of the immune system so that it can perform the job efficiently. 
  • Targeted therapy: In this treatment option, specific features in the cancerous cells are targeted without damaging the healthy ones.

Conclusion

A brain tumor is among the conditions that can leave the person living with not-so-very-good thoughts. The reason is that not only involves complicated symptoms but can even cause stress and anxiety in the patient. As soon as the symptoms are observed, it is recommended to consult healthcare specialists so that treatment is considered before it's too late. If you have been noticing any signs like severe headaches or seizures, then don’t overlook them and get in touch with one of the best multispeciality hospitals in Jaipur, Rukmani Birla Hospital. You will find the finest and expert neuro doctors including neurosurgeons here who will not only ensure the diagnosis of the condition but also the best treatment options for you.

FAQs

 

Is brain tumor curable?

No, there are certain brain tumors that can be cured when detected in an early stage, while other tumors might grow slowly, and curing them might become difficult. 

Is brain tumor cancer?

All brain cancers are known to be tumors but not all tumors are brain cancer 

Is brain tumor hereditary?

Yes, in some individuals brain tumors can be hereditary but it doesn’t happen in all cases.