Brain Tumour: All You Need to Know

brain tumour

A brain tumour is an abnormal cell growth or mass somewhere in the brain. There are many different types of brain tumours, some of which are benign (noncancerous) and others cancerous (malignant). Brain malignancies can arise in the brain (primary brain tumours) or spread to the brain from elsewhere in the body (metastatic brain tumours).

The rate of growth of a brain tumour varies greatly. The size and location of the growth determine how it will affect the function of your nervous system.

There are primary and secondary brain tumors.

The roots of a primary brain tumour are in the brain. The majority of initial brain tumours formed are mostly harmless. 

A secondary brain tumour, also known as a metastatic brain tumour, happens when cancer cells from another organ, such as your lung or breast, travel to your brain. 

Brain tumours: benign vs malignant

Though benign brain tumours can cause various problems, they are not malignant, meaning they develop slowly and seldom spread to other parts of the body.

They also tend to have more well-defined borders, making surgical excision easier, and they rarely return following removal.

On the other hand, malignant brain tumours are malignant, develop quickly, and have the potential to spread to different sections of the brain or central nervous system, creating a life-threatening situation.

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Symptoms of brain tumour 

The signs and symptoms of a brain tumour vary greatly depending on the tumour’s size, location, and rate of growth. Here are some of them: 

  • Headaches that are new to you or have a different pattern than usual 
  • If you’re experiencing unexplained nausea or vomiting, consult your doctor. 
  • Problems with speech 
  • Feeling very tired 
  • Confusion in everyday matters and difficulty in making decisions  
  • Inability to follow simple commands 
  • Hearing problems 

Causes of brain tumour 

Primary brain tumours develop in the brain or nearby tissues, such as the meninges (brain covering membranes), cranial nerves, pituitary gland, or pineal gland. Primary brain tumours are caused by alterations (mutations) in the DNA of normal cells.  

Diagnosis 

A brain tumour is diagnosed by a physical examination and studying your medical history. 

The physical examination includes a complete neurological evaluation. Your doctor will test to see if your cranial nerves are healthy. 

Your doctor will inspect the inside of your eyes with an ophthalmoscope. That shines a light through your pupils and into your retinas. 

As a result, your doctor will be able to see how your pupils react to light. It also enables your doctor to see straight into your eyes to check for any optic nerve swelling. As the pressure inside the skull rises, changes in the optic nerve can develop. 

Treatment for brain tumour

Surgery 

The most common therapy for brain tumours is surgery, and in many situations, it is the only option. Depending on the size and location of the tumour, there are various surgical options for removing it. 

Radiation

Radiation therapy is a type of treatment that uses X-rays and other forms of light energy to kill cancer cells in malignant tumours or stop the growth of benign brain tumours. Learn more about radiation therapy or look into the many types of radiation therapy for brain tumours. 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy treatments are cancer-killing medications. Chemo is rarely used alone to treat brain tumours; instead, it is used in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation. Chemotherapy medications are delivered to the brain in various ways, including surgically implanted wafers like Gliadel. Surgeons use these wafers to fill the region left behind after a tumour is removed to mop up any residual cancer cells

Brain Tumours and Targeted Drug Therapy

Targeted drug therapies are drugs that target certain cell characteristics to stop a tumour from spreading. These therapies, unlike chemotherapy, spare healthy tissue, resulting in fewer and milder adverse effects.

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