When people hear of a tumor, the next thought is often of cancer. However, tumors can be cancerous, or noncancerous. One of the most dangerous forms of tumor in both forms is the brain tumor. A brain tumor is when abnormal cells grow in the brain into a large mass. Brain tumors can grow at varying speeds depending on the situation. Brain tumors can have numerous different effects on the body due to the location in the brain. Brain tumors are incredibly frightening as a person’s brain is so incredibly complex and fragile. Treatment options will also vary widely depending on the type of tumor and where it’s located in the brain. This unknown is another cause for fear among many people. One of the best ways to end fear is through knowledge. This will give an overview (admittedly limited) on brain tumors and try to help provide a good start to learning more.
Most brain tumors as people think of them are primary brain tumors. This means that the tumor starts in the brain. However, the majority of brain tumors will actually be secondary in nature. This means a cancerous or benign tumor will start elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Some of the most common primary types of tumors that can occur in the brain are:
There are other forms of primary tumors as well. When it comes to second brain tumors, it’s common that they come from the spread of breast cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, lung cancer and others. Essentially, it can come from almost any form of cancer. Many of the cancers that are hard to spot early seem to have more time to spread to the brain
Part of the difficulty in spotting a brain tumor right away is the symptoms can be incredibly varied depending on how large it is, how fast it is growing and where it’s located in the brain. Many other issues might be considered first. Some of the most common symptoms to look for include:
These are only some of the symptoms that can be experienced. Having any of these issues should be met with a quick trip to the doctor’s office.
Once diagnosed through the many imaging and other tests needed, treatment will need to begin. There are many treatment options, though most people think of surgery. If a tumor is separate from the brain tissue, then surgery is a great option. When they are near sensitive and critical parts of the brain, surgery is less of an option. Surgery can also be conducted to reduce the size of a tumor at times. This can show some improvement with symptoms at least.
Other than surgery, many of the treatments are the same as those normally reserved for other cancers. These include treatments like chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, radiation therapy, radiosurgery.