A brain tumor is a development of anomalous cells within the brain. Brain tumors can be of various types, for instance some are noncancerous or benign while others are cancerous or malignant. Brain tumors can start in the brain or can start in other parts of the body and spread to the brain. The growth rate of brain tumors can vary to a great extent and depending on its growth rate and location, the doctor can find out how it will affect the function of the nervous system. The treatment of brain tumor may include medications and surgical procedure to get rid of it. In case the doctor recommends going for a brain tumor surgery then it is essential to find out the brain tumor surgery cost in India as it may vary from one hospital to the other.
Types of brain tumors
Some of the common types of brain tumors are mentioned below such as brain metastases, astrocytoma, ependymoma, meningioma, pediatric brain tumors, choroid plexus carcinoma, pine blastoma, pituitary tumors, glioma etc.
Common signs and symptoms of brain tumor
The signs and symptoms of brain tumor may vary to a great extent depending on the tumor’s location, size and rate of growth. Some of the general signs and symptoms of brain tumors are mentioned below:
- Unexplained vomiting or nausea
- Headaches that slowly become more recurrent and more rigorous
- Slow loss of sensation or movement in a leg or an arm
- Problem maintaining balance
- Vision problems, for instance blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision or double vision
- Speech issues
- Hearing problems
- Change in behavior or personality
- Confusion in daily matters
- Seizures, particularly in an individual who does not have a history of seizures
In case of any such symptoms one should make sure to consult with the doctor as delay may further complicate things.
Causes of Brain tumor
- Primary brain tumors
Primary brain tumors usually start off in the brain itself or in tissues near to it, for instance in the cranial nerves, brain-covering membranes, pineal gland or pituitary gland. Primary brain tumors originate when normal cells obtain errors in their DNA. These mutations permit cells to divide and grow at increased rates and to keep on living when healthy cells would expire. The in turn develops a mass of abnormal cells which eventually forms into a tumor. Primary brain tumors are of various types and they usually get the name from the type of cells involved for instance Pituitary adenomas. Pituitary adenomas are typically benign tumors that grow in the pituitary gland at the bottom of the brain. These tumors can affect the pituitary hormones with effects all through the body.
- Secondary brain tumors
On the other hand, secondary brain tumors are tumors which result from cancer that originates elsewhere in the body and then spreads to the brain. This type of brain tumors usually occur in people who have a history of cancer. But in exceptional cases, a metastatic brain tumor may be the first sign of cancer that originate somewhere else in the body. It is important to note that secondary brain tumors tend to be more common that primary brain tumors in adults. Although any type of cancer can spread to the brain but the most common ones include:
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
The cause of tumor in case of primary brain tumors is not clear; however, the doctors have pointed out some factors which may increase the risk of the brain tumor such as:
- Family history of brain tumors. It has been found that people with a family history of brain tumors or genetic syndromes often increase the risk of brain tumors.
- Exposure to radiation. Individuals who have been exposed to radiation called ionizing radiation have an increased risk of brain tumor. Some of the common ionizing radiation includes radiation therapy which is used to treat radiation and cancer exposure caused by atomic bombs.
When it comes to diagnosis, the doctor may recommend few tests and procedures such as:
- Imaging tests: MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging can be used to diagnose brain tumors. Other imaging tests which at times are recommended include CT or computerized tomography. PET or Positron emission tomography may be used for brain imaging, but is usually not as helpful for creating images of brain cancer as it is for other kinds of cancer.
- A neurological exam: A neurological exam may be recommended which include checking balance, vision, hearing, strength, reflexes and coordination. Difficulty in any of these areas may offer hints about the part of the brain that could be affected by a brain tumor.
- Testing a sample of abnormal tissue: Also referred to as biopsy, it is often performed as a part of the surgical procedure of removing a brain tumor. The biopsy sample is tested to determine if it is benign or cancerous.
- Tests to find cancer: In case it is suspected that the brain tumor is the result of cancer that has spread from another area of the body, the doctor may suggest tests to find out where the cancer initiated. Tests such as PET or CT scan may be recommended to look for signs of lung cancer.
Treatment for brain tumor depends on the size, type and location of the tumor, in addition to the overall health and preferences. Some of the common treatments include radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, radiosurgery as well as targeted drug therapy.
Rehabilitation after treatment
As brain tumors can develop in several areas of the brain that manage speech, motor skills, thinking and vision, rehabilitation may be an essential part of recovery. Depending on the need of the patient, the doctor may prescribe speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy etc. It is important to keep in mind that with proper care and the right kind of treatment a person with brain tumor can lead a normal lifestyle. So, instead of panicking about the disease, one should consult with a doctor so that he can guide in the best way possible.