What are brain tumors?

A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. In India, every year 40.000- 50,000 patients are diagnosed with brain tumor. Of these 20 percent are children.

3d medical showing brain with tumor growing

What are the types of brain Tumors?

There are many types of brain tumors. Some brain tumors are noncancerous (benign) and some are cancerous (malignant). Brain tumors can begin in the brain (primary brain tumors), or cancer can begin in other parts of body and spread to the brain (secondary or metastatic brain tumor). 

What are the most common types of brain tumors?

Metastatic brain tumors, gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary Tumors, schwannomas are the most common brain tumors. In adults, secondary brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors.

What are the risk factors?

In most people with primary brain tumors, the cause of the tumor is not clear. Some risk factors include exposure to radiation, chemicals or viruses. There are few tumors which are related to chromosomal abnormalities.

What are the symptoms of brain tumors?

The sign and symptoms depend on the size, location and rate of growth. General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors may include: new onset or change in pattern of headaches, unexplained nausea and vomiting, vision problems such as blurred vision or double vision, gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or leg, difficulty with balance, speech difficulty, personality or behavioral changes, seizures or fits, hearing problems etc.

How to diagnose a brain tumor?

History and neurological examination may provide clue to the diagnosis. Imaging tests like CT and MRI brain are commonly used to diagnose brain tumors. There are tests to find tumors in other parts of the body like PET-CT to look for primary tumor.

What is the treatment?

Treatment for a brain tumor depends on the type, size and location of the tumor, as well as overall health and preferences. Surgery is the usual first treatment for most brain tumors. The primary objective of surgery is to remove as much tumor as possible with complete removal being the best. Radiation therapy can be given after surgical removal of tumor or directly as a primary therapy in certain tumors. Chemotherapy can be given in some cases.

What is the prognosis or Survival?

Benign tumors with complete removal has an excellent prognosis. Surgical removal with or without radiotherapy helps in increasing survival rates in many cancerous brain tumors without comprimising the quality of life. With microneurosurgery, advance technology and equipments success rate of surgery has improved significantly nowadays with decrease com-plications, morbidity and mortality. So, brain tumors should not be considered as “Death on Diagnosis”.

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