What is a Brain tumor?

A tumour is defined generally as a collection or mass of abnormal cells. In easy words, a tumor is the growth of extra cells in a particular spot in your body. Your skull, which shields your brain, is extremely stiff. Any overgrowth inside such a confined area might well be troublesome.

Brain tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). When benign or malignant tumours grow, the pressure inside your skull might rise. This can result in brain damage, which can be fatal.

Categories of Brain tumor

Brain tumours are classified as either primary or secondary:

  • A primary brain tumor develops within your brain. Many initial brain tumours are harmless.
  • A secondary brain tumor, also known as a metastatic brain tumor, happens when cancer cells travel from another organ, such as your lung or breast, to your brain.

The rate at which a brain tumor develops might vary substantially. The pace of growth and location of a brain tumor influence how it affects the function of your neurological system.

Brain tumor treatment choices are determined by the type of tumor, as well as its size and location.


The majority of brain tumors have no recognized ethology. Exposure to vinyl chloride, Epstein–Barr virus, ionizing radiation, and hereditary diseases such as neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, and von Hippel-Lindau disease are uncommon risk factors. Mobile phone exposure studies have not revealed a clear risk. Meningiomas (typically benign) and astrocytoma such as glioblastomas are the most prevalent forms of primary tumours in adults. The most prevalent kind in children is malignant medulloblastoma. Medical examination, combined with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging, is frequently used to make a diagnosis (MRI). A biopsy is frequently used to confirm the outcome. The tumours are classified into different severity levels based on the results.


Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy may all be used in treatment. Anticonvulsant medicine may be required if seizures occur. Medications such as dexamethasone and furosemide may be used to reduce enema around the tumour. Some cancers develop gradually, with just observation and maybe no additional treatment. Treatments that take advantage of a person’s immune system are being examined. The prognosis for malignant tumours varies greatly depending on the type of tumor and how far it has gone at the time of diagnosis. Although benign tumours only develop in one site, depending on their size and location, they can be fatal. Malignant Glioblastomas typically have bad results, but benign meningiomas typically have acceptable outcomes. In the United States, the average five-year survival rate for all (malignant) brain malignancies is 33%.

Symptoms and Signs

Brain tumor symptoms might be generic or specialized. The pressure of the tumor on the brain or spinal cord causes a general symptom. Certain symptoms occur when a specific area of the brain is not functioning properly due to the tumor. Many persons with brain tumours were detected after going to the doctor with a symptom, such as a headache or other abnormalities.

Among the general signs are:

  • Headaches that can be severe and intensify with exercise or in the early hours of the morning


 Seizures can occur in a variety of forms. Certain medications can help to prevent or control them. Motor seizures, often known as convulsions, are abrupt involuntary muscular movements. The following are the many forms of seizures and how they appear:


  • Muscle twitches, jerks, and spasms, either single or many.

    Tonic-Clinic (Grand Mal)

  • Consciousness and bodily tone are lost, followed by twitching and relaxing muscles, which are referred to as contractions.
  • Control of bodily functions, such as bladder control, is lost.
  • A person’s skin may turn a shade of blue, purple, grey, white, or green after a brief 30-second interval of not breathing.


  • Without losing consciousness, there is a change in feeling, vision, smell, and/or hearing.

   Partially complex

  • It is possible to have a loss of awareness or a partial or entire loss of consciousness.
  • Twitching, for example, maybe connected with recurrent, involuntary movements.
  • Changes in personality or memory
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleep issues
  • Memory issues
  • Changes in walking ability or capacity to complete everyday chores
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Benign v/s malignant brain tumor

Though benign brain tumours can cause a variety of major problems, they are not malignant, which means they grow slowly and seldom spread to other regions.

They also have more well-defined borders, making surgical removal easier, and they don’t generally reappear following removal.

Malignant brain tumours, on the other hand, are cancerous, develop quickly, and can spread to other regions of your brain or central nervous, causing life-threatening consequences.

What are the risk factors for a brain tumor?

The risk factors for brain tumours include:

  1. Family history

Only around 5 to 10% of all malignancies are genetically inherited, sometimes known as hereditary. It is uncommon for a brain tumor to be inherited genetically. Consult your doctor if multiple members of your family have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Your doctor can refer you to a genetic counsellor.

  1. Age

The chance of developing most forms of brain tumours rises with age.

Chemical exposition

Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as those found in the workplace, can raise your chance of developing brain cancer. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a list of possibly carcinogenic compounds present in the workplace.

  1. Chemical exposition

Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as those found in the workplace, can raise your chance of developing brain cancer. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a list of possibly carcinogenic compounds present in the workplace.

  1. Radiation exposure

People who have been exposed to ionizing radiation are at a higher risk of developing brain tumours. High-radiation cancer therapy can expose you to ionizing radiation. Nuclear fallout might potentially expose you to radiation.

The Fukushima and Chornobyl nuclear power plant disasters show how individuals might be exposed to ionizing radiation.

  1. No history of Chickenpox

A history of childhood chickenpox is related to a 21% decreased chance of developing glioma, according to a 2016 analysis published in Cancer Medicine.

How are brain tumours diagnosed?

A physical exam and a review of your medical history are used to diagnose a brain tumor.

The physical examination involves a thorough neurological evaluation. Your doctor will do a test to determine whether or not your cranial nerves are intact. These are the nerves that emerge from your brain.

An ophthalmoscope, which beams light through your pupils and onto your retinas, will be used by your doctor to examine the interior of your eyes.

This enables your doctor to see how your pupils respond to light. It also allows your doctor to examine straight into your eyes to detect if the optic nerve is swollen. When the pressure inside the skull rises, alterations in the optic nerve can develop.

The doctor may also assess your:

  • physical strength,
  • coordination,
  • memory, and
  • the ability to do mathematical computations

Following the completion of the physical exam, your doctor may prescribe further testing.

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MRI of the head 

A special dye can be used to assist your doctor spot cancers if you get an MRI of your head. An MRI differs from a CT scan in that it does not utilize radiation and produces significantly more comprehensive images of the brain’s architecture.


A dye is injected into your artery, generally in the groin area, for this investigation. The dye is carried to your brain’s arteries. It enables your doctor to examine the blood supply of the malignancies. This information will be important during surgery.

Skull X rays

Brain tumours can induce breaks or fractures in the skull bones, which can be detected with specialized X-rays. Calcium deposits, which are occasionally seen within tumour, can 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. It will be examined by a specialist known as a neuropathologist. A biopsy will determine if the tumor cells are benign or malignant. It will also identify whether cancer began in your brain or somewhere else in your body.

Treatment of brain tumours

The therapy of a brain tumor is determined by:

  • the kind of tumor
  • tumor dimension
  • the site of the tumor
  • your overall health

Surgery is the most frequent therapy for malignant brain tumours. The objective is to remove as much cancer as possible while inflicting no harm to the brain’s healthy regions.

While the position of certain tumours allows for safe removal, the placement of others may restrict how much of the tumor may be removed. Even partial brain cancer excision can be advantageous.

Infection and haemorrhage are two risks of brain surgery. Benign tumours that are clinically threatening are also surgically removed. Metastatic brain tumours are treated in accordance with original cancer recommendations.

Other therapies, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy, can be coupled with surgery.

Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can all help you recover from neurosurgery.

If you have persistent signs and symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.

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