What are Brain Tumors?
Brain tumor is a medical condition caused by a lump or a mass formed inside the brain. The cells in our body are constantly multiplying and growing, replacing the old, existing cells with new ones. In case of a brain tumor, the cells in the brain start multiplying and dividing in an uncontrolled manner which is not naturally recognized by the body. This rapid cell multiplication is different than how normal cells react which is primarily why these cells risk a chance of being cancerous in the long run.
There are approximately 130 brain tumor types that have been identified based on the type of cell multiplication, the particular location where the cell multiplication takes place, and on how quickly they can multiply.
The rapid multiplication of the brain cells gradually starts destroying the healthy brain cells and the spread of the unnaturally dividing cells are known to be one of the primary causes why the cancer condition formed originally in the multiplying cells can spread over time.
How unnatural Cell Multiplication affects the Brain
The brain is a soft, mushy, muscle cooped up inside and protected by the hardened skull. Rapid cell multiplication in such a restricted place, along with the infinite growth and spread of the unnaturally multiplying cells starts destroying the healthy cells in the brain that are responsible for basic functionality and emotions. This leads to brain damage or brain-dead risks. The multiplying growth in the restricted place also causes unnatural pressure in the brain, one of the primary reasons why brain tumor patients may often suffer brain damage or complete or partial brain paralysis.
Causes of Brain Tumors
Although it is difficult to find exact causes of brain tumors, following are considered major risk factors of brain tumors.:
- Family history or the presence of brain tumor or cancer running in your family
- Past medical conditions like cancer
- Exposure to radiation
- Low immunity
- Obesity etc.
How to Diagnose a Brain Tumor?
Most patients go to the doctor with a symptom such as a persistent headache that changes pattern throughout the day. The doctor will initially ask you questions regarding your lifestyle or previous medical history to determine if the symptom is caused by a different condition. However, if the doctor fails to come to a concrete conclusion, he may prescribe some clinical diagnostic tests to find the underlying cause of the symptom.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT Scan)
- PET Scan
- Cerebral Angiogram
- Spinal Tap
Signs & Symptoms of Brain Tumor
The tumor in the brain may often go unnoticed (without showing active symptoms) in many cases. However, most patients experience symptoms or signs that on diagnosis may reveal a possible brain tumor condition.
Symptoms can either be general or specific.
In case of general symptoms, the tumor’s growing size or spread often causes a pressure condition in the brain or spinal cord which reflects in the form of general symptoms.
On the other hand, a specifics symptom is experienced when a specific part of the brain gets deeply affected by the tumor, which causes repeated symptoms in the specific area.
Types of Brain Tumors
A Brain tumor is typically caused by rapid cell multiplication in the brain. Often, tumors caused by this abnormal cell division starts spreading to neighbouring cells spreading the tumor as it progresses. There are primarily two categories of brain tumor, namely,
- Benign which is non-cancerous in nature
- Malignant which is cancerous in nature
There are over 130 brain tumor types discovered by World Health Organization as of now, each classified and named according to the cell type they originate from. Brain tumors vary according to their size, shape, and region of origin.