Understanding Brain Tumors And How Dangerous They Are

A tumor is a mass of tissue that forms abnormally when cells do not die on schedule or grow and divide more often than they should.

Tumors may be:

  • Benign (noncancerous): They may grow large but do not spread into surrounding tissues or other parts of the body.
  • Malignant (cancerous): They have the potential to invade or spread to neighboring tissues.

What is a brain tumor?

An abnormal mass of cells growing in or around your brain is called a brain tumor. Central nervous system (CNS) tumors are the collective term for spinal and brain tumors together.

Brain tumors may be benign or malignant and some tumors grow slowly, while others do so quickly.

However, whether or not they are cancerous, brain tumors can affect your health and brain functions if they grow large enough to press on nearby nerves, tissues, and blood vessels. When the tumor grows, it can increase the pressure inside the skull, which can cause brain damage and be life-threatening.

According to the formation of brain tumors, they are categorized as:

  • Primary brain tumor: Tumors that develop in the brain itself are called primary tumors.
  • Secondary brain tumor: Tumors that invade the brain after being formed in another part of your body are called secondary tumors.

Are the brain tumors dangerous?

They may be problematic if they obstruct the movement of fluid around the brain, which can lead to an increase in pressure inside the skull. Some types of tumors have the potential to travel through the spinal fluid to distant regions of the brain or spine.

What are the types of brain tumors?

As per researchers, more than 150 different brain tumors have been identified.

A few types of benign brain tumors include:

  • Meningiomas
  • Schwannomas
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Chordomas
  • Gangliocytomas
  • Glomus jugulare
  • Pineocytomas

A few types of malignant brain tumors include:

  • Metastasis
  • Glioblastoma (GBM)
  • Astrocytoma
  • Ependymomas
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Oligodendroglioma

A few types of brain tumors in children include:

  • Medulloblastomas
  • Ependymomas
  • Astrocytomas
  • Gliomas

What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?

The symptoms and indicators of a brain tumor vary widely and are influenced by the size, location, and rate of growth of the tumor.

Following are the most common symptoms of a brain tumor:

  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision changes
  • Memory loss
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • A loss of balance, dizziness or shakiness
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Finding it difficult to think, speak, or write
  • Weakness or paralysis in one part or one side of the body

Can a brain tumor occur without any symptoms?

Brain tumors don’t always cause symptoms, as one of  the most common brain tumor in adults, meningioma, frequently progresses undetected because of its slow growth. Until a tumor is large enough to interfere with healthy brain tissues, symptoms might not appear.

What are the causes and risk factors for brain tumors?

The following are some potential causes and risk factors for brain tumors:

  • Cancers that spread to different parts of the body
  • Some genetic abnormalities make a person more likely to produce cancer cells
  • Exposure to certain types of radiation

How are brain tumors diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a brain tumor begins with:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Evaluation of coordination
  • Evaluation of memory and cognitive function
  • Muscle strength evaluation

Healthcare providers use several tests to diagnose a brain tumor, including:

  • MRI of the head
  • CT scan of the head
  • Biopsy
  • Angiography
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • Other specialized tests

How are brain tumors treated?

Treatment for brain tumors depends on several factors, including:

  • The tumor’s size, location, and type
  • Age
  • General condition
  • The number of tumors present

Brain tumors that are benign (noncancerous) are usually successfully treated with surgery if the entire tumor is safely removed, and they normally don’t recur as well.

Your treatment choices could consist of:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Brain surgery (craniotomy)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Brachytherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Radiosurgery
  • Watchful waiting or active surveillance

Other treatments that help with symptoms caused by brain tumors include:

  • Shunts
  • Palliative care
  • Certain drugs

Dr. Vikram Singh statement on brain tumor

Finding out you have a brain tumor can be scary and stressful, despite the fact that not every brain tumor is malignant. They do, however, have the potential to harm your brain to some extent. Make an appointment with Dr. Vikram Singh, the best spine and neurosurgeon; he can create a customized treatment plan to help treat the tumor and improve your quality of life.

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