A brain tumour is an abnormal mass or growth of cells in your brain. They can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). While some tumours grow swiftly, others grow slowly.
About one-third of brain tumours are cancerous. But even if they are not, they can affect brain function and health if they grow large enough and start pressing surrounding nerves, blood vessels and tissues.
Tumours that develop in the brain are known as primary tumours. Whereas, tumours that spread to your brain after building up in a different part of the body are called secondary tumours or metastatic brain tumours.
Some brain tumours are cancerous (malignant). Brain tumours can begin in your brain (primary brain tumours), or cancer can start in other parts of your body and spread to your brain as secondary (metastatic) brain tumours.
On this occasion of World Brain Tumour Day, let’s understand the various aspects related to brain tumours in detail and know the possible treatment solutions.
Types of brain tumours
Scientists have recognized more than 150 types of brain tumours.
Doctors categorize primary tumours as glial (made up of glial cells in your brain) or non-glial (developed on or in the structures of your brain, including nerves, blood vessels and glands) and benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Primary brain tumours originate in your brain. They can develop from your brain cells, nerve cells, membranes surrounding your brain, and glands (like the pituitary of pineal).
The types of primary brain tumours are as follows:
1. Pineal gland tumours
3. Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphomas
4. Primary germ cell tumours of the brain
6. Pituitary tumours
Secondary brain tumours form the bulk of brain cancers. They start in one part of the body and spread, or metastasize, to the brain. Some of the secondary brain tumours are:
1. Skin cancer
2. Lung cancer
3. Kidney cancer
4. Breast cancer
Secondary brain tumours are always malignant. Benign tumours don’t spread from one part of the body to another.
Signs & Symptoms
In general, the most common symptoms of a brain tumour include:
2. Seizures or convulsions
3. Difficulty thinking, speaking or finding words
4. Personality or behaviour changes
5. Weakness, numbness or paralysis in one part or one side of the body
6. Loss of balance, dizziness or unsteadiness
7. Loss of hearing
8. Vision changes
9. Confusion and disorientation
Refined imaging techniques can help pinpoint brain tumours. Diagnostic tools include:
1. CT scan of the head
CT scans can help identify a more detailed scan of your body than they could with an X-ray machine. This can be done either with or without contrast.
2. MRI of the head
An MRI in comparison to a CT scan doesn’t use radiation, and it usually provides more detailed pictures of the brain and its structures.
This therapy allows your doctor to see what the blood supply of the tumours looks like. This information is critical at the time of surgery.
Surgery is the key treatment option available for all brain tumours. Surgical procedure depends upon the type, size and location of tumours.
While some tumours can be completely removed by surgery, others need subtotal removal due to their location being adjacent to the important areas of the brain.
Extensive surgery in these areas may cause more risk than benefit to the patient.
Surgeons often use a combination of therapies to treat a tumour. Other treatment options might include:
1. Radiation therapy: In this treatment, high doses of X-rays terminate brain tumour cells or shrink the tumour.
2. Radiosurgery: This type uses very focused beams of radiation (gamma rays or proton beams) to destroy a tumour.
3. Chemotherapy: Here, anticancer drugs kill cancer cells in your brain and throughout your body. You may receive chemotherapy either through an injection or via a pill.
This may be recommended by your healthcare provider to kill any cancer cells left behind or to prevent remaining tumour cells from growing.
4. Immunotherapy: This treatment uses your body’s immune system to fight cancer. The therapy chiefly consists of stimulating your immune system to help it function properly.
Learning about a tumour in your brain can be stressful. While most brain tumours are not cancerous, they can still cause problems for your brain. Hence, you should seek medical help at the earliest.
At Neotia, we strive to develop a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan to help treat the tumour and enhance the quality of life.
Our state of the art OT equipped infrastructure with high-speed drilling systems, microscopic equipment for complex brain surgery and endoscopic equipment for pituitary surgery, use of the latest techniques like CUSA in neurosurgery ensures the best treatment possible.
In addition, we have a Comprehensive Emergency Unit for Neuro – Trauma cases with excellent Anaesthesia & ICU support team, a Dedicated Neuro ward & Critical Care Unit with multi-channel invasive monitors and ventilators with all beds that can cater to your brain tumour needs and help you lead a happy life.
Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.