A brain tumour is described as a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain. A brain tumour can begin in the brain. There are cases where cancer begins in some part of your body and spreads to the brain.
Some brain tumours are cancerous, some are not.
Different brain tumours grow at different rates. The location, as well as the growth rate of the tumour, determines how much it will affect the functioning of the brain.
The treatment of a brain tumour depends completely on the type of brain tumour, size and it’s location.
SYMPTOMS OF BRAIN TUMOR
There are many symptoms of a brain tumour. They, however, vary greatly and also depend on the size, location, and rate of growth of the tumour.
The general signs and symptoms of brain tumours might include:-
• Developing a new headache or noticing a change in the pattern of the headache.
• Headaches tend to become more and more frequent and their severity increases too.
• Nausea or vomiting without any rigid explanation.
• Blurred vision, double vision, or the loss of peripheral vision.
• A gradual loss in the sensation or movement in arms or legs.
• There is difficulty with balance.
• Difficulty with speech.
• We witness patients having difficulty and confusion in everyday matters.
• Shift in Personality and behavioural patterns.
• Seizures, especially in someone who doesn’t have a history of seizures.
• Loss of hearing.
CAUSES OF BRAIN TUMOR
Primary brain tumours tend to grow in the brain or tissues closer to it, such as in brain membranes (meninges), cranial nerves, pituitary glands, or pineal gland.
Primary brain tumours grow when normal cells acquire mutations (errors) in their DNA.
These mutations result in allowing the cells which should’ve been dead if they were healthy to keep on living and dividing at an increased rate. The result of this is a mass of abnormal cells that end up forming a tumour.
In adults, it is observed that primary brain tumours are less common than secondary brain tumours. In secondary brain tumours, cancer begins elsewhere and spreads to the brain.
TYPES OF BRAIN TUMOR
There are many types of primary brain tumor. They obtain their names from the type of cells that are involved. Some of the examples include.
• Gliomas – There tumor begins in the brain or the spinal cord.
• Meningiomas – This type of tumor arises from the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. They are mostly non-cancerous.
• Acoustic neuromas – These are benign tumors that tend to develop on the nerves. The nerves on which they grow are responsible for controlling balance and hearing leading from the inner ear to the brain.
• Pituitary adenomas – These are benign tumors that develop in the pituitary gland which are at the base of the brain. These end up affecting the pituitary hormones with effects throughout the body.
• Medulloblastomas – These are the most common brain tumors in children. It starts in the lower back part of the brain and ends up spreading through the spinal fluid. These are less common in adults but they do occur.
• Germ cell tumors – These tend to develop during childhood around the areas where the testes or the ovaries would develop.
• Craniopharyngiomas – These are rare, noncancerous tumors that start near the brain’s pituitary gland. This gland is responsible for secreting hormones that control many bodily functions. As it slowly grows, it ends up affecting the pituitary gland and other structures near the brain.
SECONDARY BRAIN TUMORS
Secondary brain tumors are the tumors that start somewhere else in the body other than the brain. They end up spreading to the brain.
They most often occur in people who may have a history of cancer. In very rare cases, a metastatic brain tumor may be the first sign of cancer that began somewhere else in the body.
Secondary brain tumors are far more common in adults than in primary brain tumors.
Common types of cancer that can spread to the brain are -:
• Breast cancer
• Colon cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Lung cancer
The causes of the brain tumor in case of primary brain tumor is not understood. However, the doctors have been able to identify some factors that may end up increasing the chances of developing a brain tumor.
• Exposure to radiation – People who are exposed to a type of radiation called ionizing radiation increase the chances of a brain tumor.
• Family history of brain tumors – The history of brain tumors or history of genetic syndromes increases the risks too.