A brain tumor is a clump of cells that have grown abnormally in or around your brain. Central nervous system (CNS) cancers are a term that encompasses both spinal and brain tumors.
Brain tumors may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Some tumors grow fast, while others take time to develop. Whether malignant or not, brain tumors may influence your health and brain function if they grow big enough to push on nearby nerves, blood vessels, and tissue.
How is a brain tumor formed?
A brain tumor develops when a mass of abnormal cells arises in the brain. A brain tumor may develop from inside the brain, from other brain components such as blood vessels or membranes, or from cells that have travelled via the circulation to the brain from other parts of the body.
Although not all brain tumors are malignant, an MRI scan and biopsy may require a precise diagnosis. These are two commonly used approaches for detecting brain cancer.
What are the types of a brain tumor?
Two forms of brain tumors have been found. Primary and secondary tumors or then known as metastatic brain tumors.
Primary Brain Tumors
A primary brain tumor is defined as a tumor that develops in the brain by developing cells. Cancerous tumors occur when a cell undergoes a process of transformation and loses its properties. When a cell undergoes a transformation, it grows and multiplies in various unusual ways. The growth of unusual cells results in a tumor, a mass of cells. These brain tumors are referred to as primary brain tumors because they develop inside the brain.
Gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primary CNS lymphomas are the most prevalent primary brain tumors. Therefore, the location of such primary tumors in the brain and the kind of brain cells from which they arise are used to identify them.
Secondary or metastatic Brain Tumors
The metastatic brain tumor is the second kind of tumor that develops in the brain. A metastatic brain tumor develops when malignant cells from other regions of the body spread to the brain. Cancerous cells that begin in other body parts like lungs, breast, kidney, prostate and malignant melanoma are all examples of other parts of the body where metastatic brain tumors may occur. Metastatic brain tumors develop due to a process known as metastasis, in which cancer cells leave their cancer tissue and travel to the brain tissue through bloodstream. Metastasis is how malignant tumors spread throughout the body, including the brain.
The brain’s blood flow determines the location of tumors in the brain. The cerebrum, which is the biggest part of the brain, will be home to most brain tumors. However, brain tumors are more likely to be found throughout the brain tissue and to have progressed to more than one section of the brain.
What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?
The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor vary widely depending on the size, location, and pace of development of the tumor.
Brain tumors may induce a variety of indications and symptoms, including:
- Confusion in everyday situations
- Experiencing unexplained nausea or vomiting
- Feeling exhausted
- Having trouble speaking
- Headaches that grow more regular and severe over time
- Headaches that are new to you or that have changed their pattern
- Hearing issues
- Incapability to follow basic instructions
- Lack of sensations or movements in an arm or leg over time
- Seizures, particularly in someone who has never had a seizure before
- Vision issues, such as blurry vision or double vision
Read More – Brain Tumor Surgery Cost in India?
How is a brain tumor diagnosed?
A physical examination and a review of your medical history are used to diagnose a brain tumor.
A thorough neurological evaluation is part of the physical exam. Your specialist will perform a test to determine whether or not your cranial nerves are healthy. The nerves that originate in your brain are known as cranial nerves.
An ophthalmoscope, which is a device that flashes light through your pupils and onto your retinas, will be used by your specialist to examine the interior of your eyes.
Your doctor will be able to see how your pupils respond to light due to this. It also enables your specialist to see directly into your eyes to check for any optic nerve enlargement. Changes in the optic nerve may occur as the pressure within the skull rises.
Following the physical examination, your physician may prescribe further testing. These might include the following:
1. CT scan
CT scans allow your doctor to acquire a more thorough picture of your body than an X-ray scanner can provide. Moreover, it’s possible to accomplish this with or without contrast.
In a CT scan of the head, contrast is created by employing a specific dye that allows physicians to see particular structures, such as blood arteries.
2. MRI scan of the brain
A special dye may be used during a head MRI to assist your doctor in detecting malignancies. An MRI differs from a CT scan in that it does not utilize radiation and often produces far more detailed images of the brain’s structure.
For this investigation, a dye is injected into your artery, generally through the catheter in the groin region. The dye goes to your brain’s arteries. It enables your doctor to observe how the tumors’ blood supply appears.
4. X-rays of the skull
Brain tumors may create breaks or fractures in the bones of the skull, which can be detected with specialized X-rays. Calcium deposits, which are occasionally seen inside tumors, may also be detected using these X-rays. If your cancer has spread to your bones, calcium deposits may be present in your circulation.
During a biopsy, a little bit of the tumor is removed. Then, it will be examined by a specialist known as a neuropathologist. The tumor cells will be tested to see whether they are benign or malignant. It will also reveal if your cancer started in your brain or elsewhere in your body
When to see a doctor?
If you continue to have worrying signs and symptoms, you must schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible.
Dr. Eshan Nerkar
Neurologist And NeurosuegeonDr. Eshan Nerkar, Consultant Brain & Spine Surgeon in Nashik specializes in Spine Surgery. He practices at AXON Brain & Spine Clinic. He is one of the best neurosurgeons in Nashik with more than 10 years of experience. He has performed more than 1000 surgeries related to brain and spinal surgery procedures.