Diagnosed With Brain Tumour? Here Is Your Guide!

Overview | It’s effects | Types | Stages | Causes | Symptoms | Risks factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention |

What is a brain tumour?

A brain tumour is a health condition in which a collective form of abnormal cells or a mass of cells grows in your brain. A brain tumour is also known as a central nervous system tumour. As the tumour grows, the problem with our brain and its functions increases, because the skull is quite rigid and restricted area. Any type of pressure inside it can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Brain tumours can impair brain function if they large enough to press on the surrounding nerves, blood vessels and tissues

Brain tumours can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).

Apart from it, brain tumours can be categories as primary and secondary. A primary brain tumour is a tumour that grows in the brain, and mostly primary brain tumours are benign. Whereas, secondary brain tumours are those which forms due to cancer cells spreading from another organ. For example, if you have lung cancer, then the cancer cells can spread to your other organs including the brain, which can result in the form of tumour formation in your brain. Secondary brain tumours are also known as metastatic brain tumour. About one–third of brain tumours are cancerous.

Here, we will discuss primary brain tumour.

Is brain tumour a common health disease?

A brain tumour is considered a common health problem in India, with about 1 million cases per year. And in U. S, about 85,000 people diagnosed with brain tumours every year, among which about 60,000 tumours are benign and 25,000 tumours are malignant.

Who is most affected by brain tumours?

Although, brain tumours can be developed at any age, but are found in old adults mostly. And men are more likely to develop a brain tumour than women.

Types of brain tumours:

The name of the types of brain tumours is based on the area where they form and which type of cells they involve. Usually, they are benign in nature.

  • Acoustic neuroma – It is also called vestibular schwannomas, maybe because it occurs on the vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain.
  • Pituitary adenoma – This tumours forms in the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland is used to make and secrete hormones in the body. The pituitary adenoma tumour is generally small in size.
  • Chordoma: It occurs at the base part of the skull and bottom part of the spine. It grows slowly and is not cancerous mostly.
  • Meningioma: This is the most common type of brain tumour. It forms in the layers of tissues that protect the spinal cord called meninges. It develops slowly and can be malignant in some rare cases.
  • Gangliocytoma: This type of brain tumours develops in nerve cells called neurons.
  • Pineocytoma: This type of tumours are developing in the pineal gland, which is located deep in the brain and secretes the hormone called melatonin. Generally, it grows slowly.

Some cancerous tumours are:

  • Glioma: When the tumours develop in those cells which surround and assists nerve cells called glial cells, then the tumours are called glioma. Two – third of cancerous primary brain tumours are gliomas. Gliomas have some types includes —
  1. Astrocytoma
  2. Glioblastoma
  3. Oligodendroglioma
  • Medulloblastoma: These tumours develop in the base of the brain. Most common type in children. They are fast-growing tumours.

Stages of brain tumours:

The grade or stage of the tumour refers to the way the cells looks under a microscope. The stage (grades) of brain tumours are as follows —

  • Stage 1 – In this, the brain cells looks like normal cells and the tissues are benign, which grows slowly.
  • Stage 2 – In this, the tissues becomes malignant and the cells look slightly different from the cells of stage 1.
  • Stage 3 – The cells present in the malignant tissues looks quite different from the normal ones. And the abnormal cells begin to grow and develop.
  • Stage 4 – The cells of the malignant tissues becomes quite abnormal and begins to grow more quickly.

The rate of change is quite high in stage 3 and stage 4 than in stage 1 and in stage 2. As time passes, the low-grade tumours develop and becomes a high–grade tumour.

Causes of brain tumours:

The actual cause of brain tumours is still unknown. Doctors can tell some factors that can lead or result in brain tumours, but the actual cause is still unknown. Some factors that can result in brain tumours are –

  • Mutations or changes in the genes that can cause uncontrollable growth of brain cells
  • Prolonged exposure to the large amount of radiation of X – rays
  • Hereditary conditions

Symptoms of brain tumours:

In some cases, the person doesn’t experience any kind of symptoms at all. The symptoms vary according to the size, tumour’s location, type and the affected part of the brain.

Some of the symptoms are —

  • Ongoing severe headache
  • Difficulty in balance and coordination.
  • Seizure
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Behaviour and personality changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Concentration problems
  • Confusions
  • Numbness, weakness or tingling in one part or side of the face or body.
  • Gradual loss of sensation or movement in the arms or legs
  • Trouble with memory
  • Difficulty in speaking or understanding the language
  • Problems with hearing, vision or speech
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Dizziness or vertigo

Risks factors:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Chemical exposure
  • Genetic mutation

Complications:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Decreased alertness
  • Weakness
  • Inability to move arms or legs of one side of the body
  • Problems with vision, hearing and smelling
  • Faster or slower breathing and pulse rate
  • Numbness

Diagnosis:

Some tests that can be conducted to diagnose brain tumours are —

  • Physical examination and medical history
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy
  • Spinal test
  • Skull X-ray
  • Imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan etc.
  • Neurological exam
  • Angiography etc.

Your doctor will prescribe you some test according to your need.

Treatment:

Brain tumour treatment depends on the size, shape and location of the tumour. Your doctor can adopt anyone or some therapies to treat your tumour.

Some of the treatment options are —

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Laser thermal ablation
  • Active surveillance (In case, the tumours is not large enough to take action)

Prevention:

Well, the truth is — one can’t prevent brain tumours. But, by taking some precautions we can decrease the risk of getting brain tumours. Just avoid all the causes of brain tumours mentioned above and live a healthy life.

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