We should begin by understanding what a brain tumour is; it is a mass made up of abnormal cells that forms in the brain. Our skulls are very hard and rigid; so any kind of excess growth within the skull is definitely a cause for concern. When you think of brain tumours: don’t necessarily think cancer, brain tumours can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous(benign). However, if a tumor, benign or malignant, begins to grow inside, it can cause an increase in pressure inside the skull, which exerts pressure on the brain, possibly leading to brain damage, and becoming life-threatening.
Brain tumours can be categorised into primary or secondary tumours. A primary tumour originates in the brain itself and a a lot of primary brain tumours are in fact benign. A secondary brain tumour or a metastatic brain tumour will require brain cancer treatment, as it forms when cancer cells reach the brain from another cancerous organ, be it the lungs or breasts.
Types of brain tumours
Before seeking the best brain tumour surgeon in Delhi or looking for the best brain cancer hospitals, it is vital patients understand what type of brain tumour is afflicting them. Brain tumours can be:
Primary brain tumours
These develop in the brain and can develop from brain cells, nerve cells, glands, and membranes (meninges) that surround the brain. Primary tumours are either benign or cancerous and in most adults, gliomas and meningiomas are the most common types of brain tumours.
Gliomas originate from glial cells, which support the central nervous system by providing it nutrition, clear out dead cells and break down dead neurons.
Gliomas can cause the occurrence of different types of tumours like astrocytic tumours such that originate in the cerebrum, oligodendroglial tumors in the frontal temporal lobes, and glioblastomas, these form in the supportive brain tissue and are the most aggressive type of brain tumour.
Other primary brain tumours also include:
pituitary tumours, pineal gland tumours, ependymomas, craniopharyngiomas (these occur mostly in children and are benign) but can have consequences like changes in vision and premature puberty. Also included are primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphomas, (which are cancerous), primary germ cell tumours, meningiomas, schwannomas.
Almost all cases of meningiomas and schwannomas are see in people aged between 40 and 70 and meningiomas are more common in women. Both of these tumours are mostly benign, but can cause potential complications because they are big and located in a very sensitive area. Although rare, some meningiomas and schwannomas can be cancerous and these can be very aggressive.
Secondary brain tumours
Most cases of brain cancer can be attributed to secondary brain tumors. They begin in another part of the body and spread to the brain. Lung cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancers can spread to the brain. Naturally, all secondary brain tumors are cancerous as benign tumors don’t spread from one part of the body to another.
Contrary to popular opinion, under 10% of all cancers are genetically inherited. It’s quite rare for brain tumors to be genetically inherited. However, please reach out to a brain tumor specialist in case people in your family have had a brain tumor.
Risk for brain tumours increases with age.
Exposure to chemicals
Being exposed to certain chemicals can increase your risk for brain cancer.
People exposed to ionizing radiation are at an increased risk of getting brain tumours. A person may be exposed to ionizing radiation during high-radiation cancer therapies and also to radiation from nuclear fallout, you can look up Fukushima and Chernobyl.
Some studies have suggested that people who had chickenpox in their childhood are in fact at decreased risk of getting brain tumors.
Symptoms of a brain tumor
The symptoms depend on the location and size of the tumor. People notice symptoms when a growing tumor begins to exert pressure on brain tissue. Headaches are the most common symptom of a brain tumor, they are usually worse in the morning after waking up, happen during sleep, hurt even more with coughing, sneezing, or exercising. People also end up vomiting, have blurred vision or double vision, are confused, suffer seizures and feel
Weakness of a limb or on a part of the face.
Other common symptoms are memory loss, confusion, difficulty reading or writing, changes in taste or smell, reduced alertness, drowsiness and loss of consciousness,
difficulty in swallowing, feeling dizzy, drooping eyelids and unequal pupils, uncontrollable movements and hand tremors, no bladder or bowel control, numbness or tingling on either side of the body, and noticeable changes in mood, personality, and behaviour.
Please reach out to us if you or anyone you know may have experienced these symptoms.