A brain tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells in the brain.
The skull that covers the brain, is very stiff. Any growth in such limited space can cause problems. Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or not cancerous (benign). When benign or malignant tumors grow, they can cause pressure inside the skull to increase.
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This causes brain damage to life threatening. Brain tumors are categorized as primary or secondary. Primary brain tumors originate in the brain. Many primary brain tumors are benign.
Secondary brain tumors, also known as metastatic brain tumors. This condition occurs when cancer cells spread to the brain from other organs, such as the lungs or breasts. How fast brain tumors grow can vary greatly. The growth rate and location of brain tumors determine how it will affect the functioning of the patient’s nervous system.
Symptoms of a brain tumor depend on the location and size of the tumor. Some tumors cause direct damage by attacking brain tissue and some tumors cause pressure on the surrounding brain. Patients will have symptoms that are seen when a growing tumor puts pressure on brain tissue.
Headaches are a common symptom of brain tumors. Patients may experience worse headaches in the morning when they wake up, occur while they are sleeping and are aggravated by coughing, sneezing, or sports. Patients may also experience vomiting, blurred vision or double vision, confusion, seizures (especially in adults), limb weakness or parts of the face and changes in mental function.
While other common symptoms include awkwardness, memory loss, confusion, difficulty writing or reading, changes in the ability to hear, feel, or smell, decreased alertness including drowsiness and loss of consciousness, difficulty swallowing, dizziness or vertigo, eye problems such as drooping eyelids and uneven pupils.
Uncontrolled movements, hand vibrations, loss of balance, loss of control of the bladder or intestine, numbness or tingling on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying, changes in mood, personality, emotions, and difficult walking behavior, muscle weakness on the face, arms or legs.
Risk factors for brain tumors include family history, age, race, chemical exposure, radiation exposure and no history of chickenpox. Where only about 5 to 10% of all cancers are genetically inherited, or hereditary. Rarely, brain tumors are genetically inherited. Talk to your doctor if several people in your family have been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The risk for most types of brain tumors also increases with age. On the other hand, brain tumors are generally more common among Caucasians. However, African-Americans are more likely to get meningiomas. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as those that might be found in the work environment, can increase the risk of brain cancer.
People who are exposed to ionizing radiation have a higher risk of developing brain tumors. Exposure to ionizing radiation can occur through high radiation cancer therapy and nuclear radiation. The incidents of nuclear power plants in Fukushima and Chernobyl are examples of how people can be exposed to ionizing radiation.
Meanwhile, based on data from the American Brain Tumor Association, people with a childhood history of chickenpox have a reduced risk of developing brain tumors. While the treatment of brain tumors depends on the type of tumor, tumor size, tumor location and general health of the patient. However, the most common treatment for malignant brain tumors is surgery. The aim is to eliminate as much cancer as possible without causing damage to the healthy parts of the brain.