A brain tumor is a mass of abnormal cells growing on or around the brain. The tumor may be cancerous or noncancerous. Some can be removed with surgery, and others are located in difficult areas of the brain and can only be treated with radiation, chemotherapy, or other non-invasive methods.
Types of Brain Tumors
There are many different types of brain tumors, and some are more serious than others. They each develop at different rates and can grow in different parts of the brains. It is important for doctors to determine the type of brain tumor they are dealing with so they can choose the right treatment. Some types of brain tumors include:
- Acoustic neuroma
- Brain metastases
- Choroid plexus carcinoma
- Embryonal tumors
- Pediatric brain tumors
- Pituitary tumors
Causes of Brain Tumors
The cause of brain tumors is unknown. They are believed to be related to problems with DNA. Mutations in the DNA can cause the cells to grow out of control and create the masses that turn into tumors. Brain tumors usually get their names from the types of cells they grow from or the location where they develop.
Symptoms of Brain Tumors
Some people do not notice the symptoms of a brain tumor until they’ve become severe. Some symptoms worsen quickly, and others become severe over time. The symptoms are often confused with those of more common and less severe disorders. The most common symptoms of a brain tumor include:
- Change in pattern of headaches
- Unexplained nausea or vomiting
- Vision problems
- Gradual loss of sensation or movement in the arm or leg
- Difficulty with balance
- Speech difficulties
- Behavior changes
- Hearing problems
Brain Tumor Diagnosis
Doctors can diagnose a brain tumor with imaging scans. These scans allow doctors to look inside the patient’s head and see where the tumor is located and its size. They may use one type of imaging scan or multiple ones. The types of tests used include:
- CT scan
- PET scan
Brain Tumor Treatments
The type of treatment used for brain tumors depends on the type of brain tumor and its location. Doctors may choose to shrink or remove it with surgery. In some cases, doctors may give patients the option of which treatment they prefer. Some doctors may opt to use more than one type of treatment at the same time. Some common treatments include:
- Radiation therapy
- Drug therapy
Prognosis for patients with brain tumors depends on the type of tumor and how the patient responded to treatment.
In some cases, the brain tumor can be completely removed or dissolved, and the patient can go on to live a normal life. If the tumor is cancerous and does not respond to treatment, it could grow and cause more health problems. Some tumors cannot be treated at all and can result in the patient’s death. Doctors work with the patients to prepare them for their prognosis and help them recover.