The formation of abnormal cells inside the brain often consequence in a brain tumor. Brain tumors are of two types: benign tumors and malignant/cancerous tumors. This method that all brain tumors are not cancerous but only the malignant kind.
Malignant tumors are further divided by dominant tumors which form inside the brain and secondary tumors which originate from in other places inside the body. The latter kind is also termed as brain metastasis tumors.
A risk factor is anything which may increase the possibility of developing a tumor in one’s brain. While risk factors have a part to play in developing it, most of them do not really cause it. People with several risk factors may never develop a brain tumor while those with none may do.
Some of the shared risk factors are:
- Age: Though brain tumors are shared in older adults and children, anybody may develop them at any age.
- Gender: Males are more likely to develop brain cancer than females; though certain types of it, for example meningioma, are shared only in women.
- Exposures: The risk of developing brain tumors increases when exposed to pesticides, solvents, rubber, vinyl chloride and oil products.
- Family History: About 5% of brain tumors may occur due to hereditary factors, such as neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
- Seizures and head injury: Serious head trauma often consequence in the development of brain tumors.
The symptoms of brain tumors vary depending on the kind of tumor and its size, location and growth rate. The usual symptoms include:
- harsh headaches
- Sensory changes
- Memory changes
- Vision changes
- Difficulty in sleeping
Doctors follow a lot of test procedures to diagnose a brain tumor and its kind. They also do tests to clarify whether or not the tumor has spread to a different part of the body, which is known as metastasis.
The following things are considered by doctors to decide on the kind of the diagnostic test:
- The patient’s signs and symptoms
- The patient’s age and health condition
- The kind of the tumor suspected
Doctors do different types of tests depending on the aforementioned factors. Some of these include:
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): It is used to have a detailed image of the body and measure the size of the tumor. If a tumor is detected, tissue of the tumor is collected by surgery or biopsy in order to clarify its kind.
- CT examine: Unlike MRI which uses magnetic field, CT examine provides a 3D picture of the body by X-rays. It helps clarify bleeding inside the brain and changes to bone inside the skull.
- Lumbar puncture: In this procedure, doctors take a sample of CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) by a needle to clarify tumor cells or biomarkers. Biomarkers are substances present in the urine, spinal fluid, or other fluids of people with a certain kind of cancer.
- Vision, neurological and hearing tests: These test are done to determine whether or not the tumor is affecting the functioning of the brain.
Upon diagnosing a brain tumor, a medical team is formed to determine the possible treatment options. There are some treatment options obtainable to get rid of it, including:
- Surgery: It involves resecting the tumor either slightly or completely
- Chemotherapy: Drugs are administered here to do away with tumor cells, though they may consequence in side effects
- Radiotherapy: This is the most usual treatment option where the tumor is destroyed with gamma rays or x-rays
Finally, brain cancer should be treated closest upon the diagnosis in order to avoid any long-term physical disabilities and already death.