WHAT IS A BRAIN TUMOUR?
Updated: Mar 14
A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain or surrounding tissues. These cells can be either cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Brain tumours can originate from different types of cells within the brain, such as glial cells, which support nerve cells, or from other cells that make up the brain and its lining. Brain tumours can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on their size, location, and rate of growth. Some common symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, seizure, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, and changes in speech, vision, or hearing.
Diagnosis of a brain tumour typically involves a combination of medical imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, and a biopsy, in which a small sample of tissue is removed for examination. Treatment options for brain tumours can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other experimental treatments, depending on the type, size, and location of the tumour, as well as the individual's overall health. Brain tumours can be life-threatening, but many people with brain tumours are able to lead active, productive lives with appropriate treatment and support. It is important to seek prompt medical attention if you experience any symptoms that suggest a brain tumour, such as persistent headache, vomiting, or changes in speech, vision, or hearing.
Brain tumours can be classified into two main categories: primary and secondary (metastatic) brain tumours.
Primary brain tumours originate in the brain and can be either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The following are some of the most common types of primary brain tumours:
Gliomas: This is the most common type of primary brain tumour and includes astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas.
Meningiomas: These are tumours that arise from the tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord.
Schwannomas: These are tumours that originate from the cells that make up the protective covering of nerves.
Pituitary tumours: These are tumours that develop in the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
Secondary (metastatic) brain tumours are cancers that have spread to the brain from another part of the body, such as the lungs, breast, or skin. These tumours are much more common than primary brain tumours and are typically more aggressive.
It's important to note that the type of brain tumour can have a significant impact on prognosis and treatment options. It's important to speak with a doctor to understand the specific type of brain tumour and the recommended treatment options.