Brain Tumor - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells inside your brain. Your brain is enclosed in a tight covering called a skull. Inside it, if any abnormal growth occurs, it can exert pressure on your skull, leading to life-threatening conditions. Brain tumors can be either malignant- means they are cancerous, or benign- means non-cancerous. 


Benign brain tumors may not harm you. But malignant ones spread rapidly and cause severe adverse effects. Brain tumors can be generally classified as a primary and secondary brain tumor. 


Primary brain tumor- one that originates from the brain. Most of them are benign.


Secondary brain tumor- one that originates from the other organ and reaches the brain, in the form of metastases. It may have the origin in your lung, breast or liver, and reaches the brain due to its rapid spread. 



Types 


There are many types of brain tumors according to their origin and types. 


  • Embryonal tumors

  • Ependymoma

  • Glioblastoma

  • Glioma

  • Medulloblastoma

  • Meningioma

  • Acoustic neuroma

  • Astrocytoma

  • Oligodendroglioma

  • Pediatric brain tumors

  • Brain metastases

  • Choroid plexus carcinoma

  • Craniopharyngioma

  • Pineoblastoma

  • Pituitary tumors



Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of brain tumors vary greatly, depending on the type, size, origin, and location. The general signs and symptoms are;


  • Headache with changing pattern

  • Nausea 

  • Vomiting 

  • Problems with vision like double vision, blurred vision, or loss of peripheral vision, drooping eyelids, and unequal pupils

  • Loss of sensation or loss of movement in one arm or leg

  • Difficulty balancing your gait

  • Changes in mood, personality, emotions, and behavior

  • Difficulty walking

  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg

  • Speech difficulties/ slurring of speech

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

  • Numbness or tingling on one side of the body

  • Difficulty understanding complex things

  • Confusion in daily life matters

  • Hand tremors

  • Loss of balance

  • Trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying

  • Hearing problems 

  • Loss of balance

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

  • Personality changes 

  • Vertigo 

  • Seizures 

  • Change in mental functioning 

  • Difficulty reading or writing 

  • Memory loss

  • Difficulty swallowing 

  • Changes in the ability to hear, taste, or smell

  • Uncontrollable movements



Diagnosis 


After the physical examination, the healthcare provider will perform other tests. They will check your muscle strength, coordination, memory, and ability to do mathematical calculations. Moreover, they will also order other diagnostic tests to finalize the diagnosis. 


CT scan of the head


Through CT scan, the doctors can see a much detailed view of your brain that they could not see through an X-ray machine. It may be done with or without contrast. 


MRI of the head


It is a bit different from a CT scan in which the rays are used to see the image of the inside of your brain. For it, a special dye is used that helps in the easy detection of tumors. 


Angiography


In this procedure, the healthcare providers inject a dye in your artery, usually at the groin area. Then they check how much of it has traveled to your brain. It helps in getting information about the blood supply to the brain. 


X-ray of the skull


Brain tumor leads to fracture of the skull bone. To check it, the healthcare providers may order an X-ray done. A specific kind of X-ray can help detect the fracture of the skull that can pick calcium deposits.


Biopsy 


In this procedure, the healthcare providers take a small piece of your brain cell they feel is growing abnormally. After that, they examine it under the microscope to confirm the diagnosis of a brain tumor. 


Conclusion 


A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells inside your brain. The treatment of it depends upon its type, size, origin, stage, location, and your overall health. The healthcare providers will perform various tests to confirm the diagnosis.


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