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A Quick Introduction to Brain Tumor Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Last Updated: Oct 04, 2021

What is brain tumor?

When abnormal cells grow inside the brain and are in the form of a mass the condition is called brain tumor. There are various types of brain tumor that exist. Some of the brain tumors which exist are malignant or cancerous while other may be non-cancerous. A brain tumor can begin in any part of the brain and spread to other parts of the body or vice-versa. The growth rate of brain tumor is different for each individual suffering from it.

The effect of brain tumor on the overall functioning of the nervous system depends on the location and growth rate of the tumor. The treatment for brain tumor depends on the tumor type as well the location and the size. The brain tumor can have a distressing effect on the overall mental health of a person. The patient suffering from the condition of brain tumor must be in touch of the doctor until the condition gets treated.

What are the early symptoms of a brain tumor?

If a person is suffering from the brain tumor he/she may be exhibiting the following symptoms

  • Headaches in the morning after waking up, while sleeping.
  • The headaches will get worse after coughing and sneezing.
  • Vomiting
  • Change in the mental functioning
  • Confusion

  • Clumsiness
  • Effect on the memory
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness or tingling sensation on one side of the body.
  • Trouble in speaking
  • Blurred vision
  • A person might have seizures without any previous history of neurological disease.

How serious is a Brain Tumor?

Brain Tumor, be it benign or malignant, may prove to be a fatal condition for an individual. There is limited space inside the skull in which our brain is enclosed. The majority of this space is occupied by the brain. The development of any tumor or its growth may create serious problems in the skull as it increases the pressure on the brain, resulting in damage to the brain. The condition is lethal.

What causes brain tumors?

The cause of the majority of the brain cancers is still not known and completely understood. The brain tumors originate in the brain itself. Tumors start to develop if there are mutations in the DNA. It is because of these mutations that cells of the brain increasingly grow and divide. Usually, in adults the primary brain tumors are uncommon in comparison to the secondary brain tumors.

What are the risk factors for a brain tumor?

There are some risk factors which increase the risk of brain tumors in individuals

  • The risk of brain tumor increases with age.
  • This condition can also be inherited from the family however, the chances are only 5 to 10 percent.
  • The risk of brain tumors increases in people who have been exposed to the ionizing radiation.
  • If a person is exposed to certain chemicals then he/she has an increased risk of suffering from brain tumor.

Can a Brain Tumor kill you?

Besides symptoms such as severe headache, dementia, speech difficulty, weakness of the eye, nausea, and vomiting, Brain Tumors may have some serious and life-threatening complications depending upon their type. Malignant tumors which show metastasis are fatal in most cases with a bad prognosis. However, non-malignant or benign Brain Tumors may also be serious and prove to be lethal in some cases.

What happens if Brain Tumor is not treated?

In case the Brain Tumor is left untreated or undergoes delayed treatment, more serious conditions may arise. There is limited space inside the skull most of which is occupied by the brain. When a tumor is present inside the skull and it is a growing condition, it may create pressure on the brain.

This is dangerous and the brain is unable to bear such pressure. Damage may be caused to the brain which can restrict its functioning and eventually can prove to be fatal.

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What are the precautions for brain tumor?

The precautions for a person suffering from the condition of brain tumor includes

  • Excessive imaging scan radiations must be avoided.
  • The toxic chemicals which are used in the oil and the rubber industry must be avoided at any cost.
  • Smoking and drinking excess of alcohol must be avoided.
  • The excessive use of cell phones must be avoided.

How are brain tumors diagnosed?

For diagnosing the brain tumor the doctor will first take a look at the patient physically. The doctor may also ask for the medical history of the patient. The doctor will then advise a very detailed neurological examination. These examinations will help the doctor in determining whether the cranial nerves are intact or not.

The doctor will take a look at the eyes of the patient with the help of an ophthalmoscope. This test is done to check whether there is any swelling of the optic nerve. The doctor will further evaluate coordination, memory, and muscle strength. After the physical examination the doctor may order some more tests confirm the diagnosis

  • CT scan of the head: It will give a detailed image of the brain for the doctor to make diagnosis.
  • MRI of the brain: It gives clearer images to the doctors for detecting any tumors.
  • Angiography: In this test a dye is injected to the artery from the groin area. It helps doctors in understanding the blood supply of the tumors.
  • Skull x-ray: Sometimes the brain tumors can cause fracture in the skull bones, these are easily visible in the skull x-ray.
  • Biopsy: In this a small piece of tumor is obtained. This test tells us whether the tumor is malignant or not.

How are brain tumors treated?

The treatment of brain tumors depends on the location, size, and the type of the tumor. General health of the patient is also taken into consideration. The treatment which is common for brain tumor is surgery. The objective of the surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging the other parts of the brain. For surgery to take place the tumors must be located within the area of limits of the surgery.

The risk associated with brain surgery is inclusive of bleeding and infection. Surgery can further be combined with other treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After the completion of the neurosurgery a patient might need speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

Can Brain Tumor be cured?

The cure is possible in the case of Brain Tumors. The results of the treatment depends upon the prognosis. Some of the Brain Tumors which are high-grade malignant and show metastasis are not curable. In such cases, death happens eventually regardless of the cost and duration of the treatment.

Results of treatment also depend upon the age at which it has been diagnosed, along with the type of tumor and its location in the brain.

Can Brain Tumors affect sleep?

The Brain Tumor is a life-threatening condition that may be accompanied by some serious symptoms. Sleeping disorder is one of them which commonly occurs in patients suffering from Brain Tumors as a result of the radiation therapy in the treatment. Hypersomnia is the disturbing pattern of sleeping found in such patients which is a serious concern for them.

Does a Brain Tumor hurt?

The Brain Tumor is accompanied by severe conditions of pain which may occur in different forms. Headaches are one of them which occur with the worst pain and change in pattern. New forms of headaches usually develop which result in continuous pain but are different from migraines.

They are more painful in the morning and are followed by vomiting and new symptoms related to the nervous system. It cannot be controlled by the application of over-the-counter medicines.

What happens after a Brain Tumor is removed?

The symptoms post-removal of the Brain Tumor include the following:

  • Post-operative swelling in the brain.
  • Speech difficulty.
  • Fatigue, dizziness, and weakness.
  • Difficulty in movement.
  • A change in personality and behavior of the individual.
  • A negative effect on memory, concentration, and communication.

Is it possible to treat brain tumor naturally?

Some of the natural treatments for brain tumors are inclusive of the following

  • Get enough sunlight: being in sunlight helps in the production of the vitamin D in the body. There have been studies that indicate that vitamin D is a very active cancer prevention agent.
  • Vitamin b17: due to the bitter taste of vitamin b17, it has been removed from the diet. Studies have revealed that eating food products rich in vitamin b17 can help in destroying cancerous cells.
  • Fish oil: for people suffering from the problem of brain tumor omega-3-fatty acids are beneficial as they not only boost immunity but also reduce inflammation. Fish oil is rich in omega-3-fatty acids.

Summary: Brain Tumor, be it benign or malignant, may prove to be a fatal condition for an individual. It is life-threatening and may be accompanied by some serious symptoms. Headaches are one of them which occur with the worst pain and change in pattern. New forms of headaches usually develop which result in continuous pain but are different from migraines. Surgery is the only treatment option in such cases the result of which depends upon the prognosis. Postoperative symptoms also occur which are a matter of concern.

References

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Written ByDr. Jagdish Shinde MD - Radiothrapy,MBBSOncology
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