In the United States, nearly 30 Americans are diagnosed with brain or nervous system tumors annually. The growth of abnormal cells in your brain is known as a brain tumor. Your brain is complex and enclosed in a rigid skull, any growth in such a restricted area can cause severe medical health problems. As tumors grow and spread, these tumors can apply pressure to healthy tissue and block the flow of fluid around the brain, leading to brain damage and increased cranial pressure.
Brain tumors can develop in any part of the brain including the skull base, brain stem, and protective lining. There are different types of brain tumors. As of now, there are over 120 known types of tumors that can develop in the brain.
Non-cancerous tumors are also known as benign tumors, and cancerous tumors are malignant tumors.
Types of Brain Tumors
Brain tumors may be primary as they begin in the brain or they may be the result of another type of cancer growing elsewhere in the body.
- Primary Brain Tumors -These types of brain tumors originate in the brain. They can be developed from brain cells, nerve cells, and the membrane surrounding the brain known as meninges.
- Metastatic Brain Tumors – Metastatic brain tumors are also known as secondary brain tumors that start in different parts of the body and spread (or metastasize) to the brain. Secondary brain tumors are about 4 times more common than primary tumors. Common forms of cancer that can spread to the brain include lung cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer. Secondary brain tumors are always malignant.
Risk factors increase the chance of the development of brain tumors. If you know your risk factors and discuss them with your health care professional, it will assist you in making an informed decision. There is no way to prevent brain tumors by managing your lifestyle. In most cases, the causes of brain tumors are not known, but these factors will increase your chances of brain tumor:
- Genetics – A brain tumor is rarely inherited. Out of all the brain tumors, less than 5 – 10 % are inherited genetically. Consult your physician if any family members have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. There is no evidence of the role of genetics in the development of brain tumors, but studies are underway.
- Age – People of any age can develop a brain tumor, but they are more common in older adults and children. Risk factors for different types of brain tumors increase with age. The risk of brain tumors is increased at the age of 85 to 89 years.
- Excess Weight – Being overweight and obese will increase your risk of different types of cancer. Approximately 2% of brain tumors diagnosed in the UK every year are caused by being overweight and obese. Maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet.
- Gender – Men are at greater risk of the development of brain tumors as compared to women. Meningioma is more common in women.
Exposure to some forms of radiation can also increase your risk of developing brain tumors.
Common Symptoms Associated with Brain Tumors
The symptoms of a brain tumor depend on the location of the tumor. Different parts of the brain control different body parts. The size of the tumor and the growth rate will determine which symptoms will appear in you. The most common symptoms of brain tumor include:
- Behavioral and personality changes
- Change in visual ability
- Loss of balance, dizziness
- Loss of hearing function
- Memory loss
- Mental confusion
- Seizures or conclusions
- Weakness, numbness in different body parts
It is important to note that brain tumors do not always cause symptoms as some cases grow slowly and remain unnoticed for a long time.
Treatment of brain tumors depends upon the rate, type, size, location of the tumor, and health status of the patient. The most common and successful treatment of brain tumors is the removal of brain tumors by surgery without damaging the parts of the brain. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be beneficial in helping to decrease tumor size, slow growth, and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Brain tumors can affect the functioning of your brain if they grow large and start pressing the nearby blood vessels, nerves, and brain tissues. Your outcome can be determined by the type of tumor, location, age, and overall health. For more information on brain tumors and our services or to schedule an appointment, contact American Neurospine Institute, PLLC today.