Tumor is a mass of tissue which is formed by the accumulation of abnormal cells. Normal cells in the body grow and get replaced with new cells whereas abnormal cells disrupt the cycle and tumor cells grow with time which does not die on its own. As this process continues to grow more cells are added to the mass.
Brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. The skull which encloses the brain is very rigid and any abnormal growth in such a restricted space can lead to various problems. A brain tumor can be cancerous or non-cancerous. As these tumors grow inside the brain they put pressure inside the skull which damages the brain resulting in serious life-threatening problems. Brain tumors are categorized in two type’s primary brain tumor and secondary brain tumor. A primary brain tumor emerges in the brain itself whereas secondary brain tumor which is also known as metastatic brain tumor which occurs when the cancer cells spread to in brain from a different organ.
Primary Brain Tumors: – These type of tumors originates in the brain itself from the nerve cells, brain cells, and membranes which surround the brain or from the glands. Generally, primary brain tumors are cancerous. Meningioma’s and Gliomas are the two most common types of brain tumors in adults.
Secondary Brain Tumors: – Majority of brain tumors are secondary. These type of tumor starts in one part of the body and spreads to the brain or metastasize. Skin cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and breast cancer can metastasize to the brain. Secondary brain tumors are generally malignant. The kind of brain tumors are difficult to treat and can cause significant intracranial cavity malignancies. Headaches, seizures, and weakness in the body and changes in mood or personality are some of the symptoms of secondary brain tumors.
Gliomas Tumor: – Gliomas tumor occurs in the brain or spinal cord. These tumors develop from glial cells which support the structure of the central nervous system and provide them with nutrition. Astrocytic tumors, astrocytomas, oligoastrocytomas, and oligodendrogliomas are some of the types of gliomas tumor.
Meningioma Tumors: – Meningioma tumors forms on the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord inside the skull. This tumor forms in three layers of the membranes which are called as meninges. Meningioma tumors grow slowly and around 90% of these tumors are non-cancerous whereas the remaining 10% can be cancerous which can tend to grow quickly and spread to different parts of the brain and other organs. Meningioma brain tumor surgery is usually the last option to treat meningioma brain tumor surgery.
Pituitary Adenomas: – This type of tumor is mostly non-cancerous which develops within the pituitary gland which is located at the bottom of the brain. Benign tumors affect the pituitary hormones which subsequently effects throughout the body.
Schwannomas (Acoustic Neuromas):– Schwannomas are nerve sheath tumors which are generally non-cancerous in nature and develop upon the nerves controlling balance and hearing leading from the inner ear to the brain.
Medulloblastomas: – Medulloblastomas tumors are cancerous in nature which generally occurs in children’s. This tumor starts within the lower back portion of the brain which subsequently spread throughout the spinal fluid. This type of tumors is less common in adults.
Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors: – Primitive neuroectodermal tumors are very rare. These tumors are cancerous in nature and starts in the embryonic cells within the brain.
Germ Cell Tumors: – Germ cell tumors occurs during childhood. These tumors move to other parts of the body.
Craniopharyngiomas: – Craniopharyngiomas tumors are rare and non-cancerous in nature. This tumor occurs in the brain’s pituitary gland which secretes the hormones that control many functions of the body. Craniopharyngiomas tumor affects the pituitary gland and other structures which are close to the brain as they grow very slowly.
The causes of a brain tumor depend on the type of the tumor.
Causes of Primary Brain Tumors: – Primary brain tumors originate in the brain itself or in the tissues which are close to it. This tumor begins when the normal cells acquire mutations in DNA. These mutations allow the cell to grow and divide at an increased rates which continue to live when the healthy cells die. This results in a mass of abnormal cells that form a tumor. Different types of primary brain tumor have different causes.
Causes of Secondary Brain Tumors: – Secondary brain tumors cancer is caused when some of the cells break away from primary cancer and move through the bloodstream or lymph system to any other part of the body where the new tumor is formed. People who have a history of cancer are more at the risk of secondary brain tumors. In rare cases, a secondary brain tumor can be the first sign of cancer which starts elsewhere in the body. Secondary brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors.
The signs & symptoms of brain tumors vary from person to person depending on the size, location and growth rate of the tumor. Following are some of the signs and symptoms which are normally caused by brain tumors:-
The exact cause of primary brain tumor is still not clear but the doctors have identified some factors which may increase the risks of a brain tumor. The risk factors of a brain tumor only affect its probability of developing the tumor over a lifetime. In case if a patient has undergone radiation therapy as a treatment for another type of cancer is more at the risk of developing cancer. Following are some of the risk factors mentioned:-
Age Factor: – The frequency of developing brain tumor increases with age which is more in occurrences of people who are 65 or older. The age factor varies depending on the cell type and location of the tumor. Adults are at a lower risk of developing medulloblastomas whereas Gliomas is very common in adults.
Family History of Brain Tumors: – Around 5 to 10 percent of all types of cancer are genetically inherited, or are hereditary. A genetically inherited brain tumor is very rare. A small portion of people with brain tumors has a family history or genetic syndrome which increased the risk of brain tumors.
Radiation Exposure: – People who are exposed to ionising radiation are at a much risk of developing a brain tumor. The exposure to ionising radiation can be through high-radiation cancer therapies or from nuclear fallout. Nuclear power plant incidents that took place in Fukushima and Chernobyl are an example where a large number of people were exposed to ionising radiation.
Race: – Brain tumors more likely occur in Caucasians. African-American people are more at the risk of getting meningiomas in their lifetime.
Exposure to Chemicals: – Exposure to certain chemicals in the work environment can also increase the risk of brain tumor. Many safety and healthcare organization keeps a list of potentially cancer-causing chemicals which can be found in workplaces.
Brain tumor treatment option depends on:-
Surgery: – Depending on the location of brain tumor it sometimes becomes easy for the surgeon to remove the tumor as much as possible. In some cases, the tumors are very small in size which is easy to separate from the surrounding brain tissue and makes it easier for the surgeon to remove the tumor completely. Whereas in some cases the tumor cannot be separated from the surrounding tissues as they are located in the much sensitive area of the brain making brain tumor surgery riskier. In such cases, the surgeon removes as much as tumor possible. While performing brain tumor surgery removing even a portion of the brain helps in reducing the signs and symptoms.
Chemotherapy: – In chemotherapy, medicines are used to destroy the cancer cells. There are only few chemotherapy medicines which work for a brain tumor. Chemotherapy drugs can be given orally in the form of pill or injection. Temozolomide is the most common type of medicine used in chemotherapy. There are some side effects of chemotherapy which depends on the dose of drugs the patient takes.
Radiation Therapy: – In radiation therapy, high-energy beams such as protons or x-rays are used to kill the tumor cells. The radiation comes from the machine outside the patient’s body. Radiation can also be placed inside the body close to the brain tumor which happens in very rare cases. External radiation beam focuses on the area of the brain where the tumor is located or it can also be applied to the entire brain which is also referred as whole-brain radiation. This radiation is most often used to treat cancer which has spread to the brain from another part of the body. Patients can also experience some side effects of this therapy depends on the type of radiation and the dose of radiation the patients receive. Headaches, fatigue, hair loss are some of the common side effects of radiation therapy.
Targeted Drug Therapy: – This therapy focuses on specific abnormalities which are present within the cancer cells and blocks them and lead the cancer cells to die. Bevacizumab (Avastin) is a drug used in targeted drug therapy which is given through a vein and stops the formation of new blood vessels by cutting off blood supply to a tumor which in turn kills the tumor cells.
Minimally invasive is a type of technique to perform surgeries. Minimally invasive brain tumor surgery is performed by making a small incision. Not everyone is recommended this surgery it depends on the type of the tumor the patient is suffering from, overall health and age of the patient. The minimally invasive approach is performed by removing the tumor which is close to the brainstem by making a small incision behind and below the ear. Minimally invasive brain tumor surgery has various advantage over other surgeries such less loss of blood, less disturbance to the nearby tissues, faster recovery, and less hospital stay.
Deep brain stimulation is a neurosurgical procedure which involves implanting a medical device referred as neurostimulator or brain pacemaker. This device sends electrical impulses, through the implanted electrodes to specific targets in the brain. Surgery is required for placing the implant. A small hole is drilled in the skull and tiny wire electrodes are placed in the brain. Deep brain stimulation treatment has provided therapeutic benefits for a brain tumor by changing the activity of the brain in a controlled manner as its effects are reversible.
Choosing the right hospital which is equipped with the latest technique and equipment for brain tumor treatment increases the success rate of the surgery. India has some of the best hospitals for brain tumor treatment. Services and facilities of best brain surgery hospitals in India are available at the most affordable costs. Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai, Continental Hospital in Hyderabad, Manipal Hospitals and Fortis Hospitals in India are some the best brain surgery hospitals in India.
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