A tumor is defined as a mass of tissues which is formed due to the accumulation of cells. Tumors can be non cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) in nature. Benign brain tumors are not deep rooted in the brain and can be removed surgically with ease. Even after the operation, they can still come back but are less likely to occur unlike malignant tumor. Benign tumors don’t cause death but it can cause inflammation on the brain by putting immense pressure on and around the skull.
The exact cause of brain tumor is still not known, but studies suggest that certain risk factors might trigger brain tumor. Children receiving radiation are more prone in developing brain tumor as adults. A rare genetic condition called Li-Fraumeni syndrome or neurofibromatosis. People who are over the age of 65 are also at a higher risk of developing brain tumor. Cancerous brain tumor can lead to brain cancer and spread to the central nervous system and other part of the brain as well.
How is brain tumor diagnosed?
It is advisable to consult a neurologist to diagnose brain tumor. The neurologist starts by asking you about the health history of your family and symptoms you might be experiencing at the present moment. A physical exam is also performed accompanied with a MRI or CAT scan to see the images of your brain. An MRA or an Angiogram is also performed in some cases. This involves use of a dye to see the blood vessels in the brain to locate abnormal blood vessels and a tumor. A biopsy is required to know whether the tumor is malignant or not. This is done by removing a brain tissue with a needle inserted through a hole drilled inside the skull. This tissue is sent to the lab for imaging and testing.
Treatment of brain tumor:
Most of the tumors are removed by surgery based on their location in the brain. In some cases, the tumor is usually located in a sensitive area and cannot be operated. In this case, radiation therapy or chemotherapy is used for shrinking or killing the tumor. Chemotherapy can also be used after surgically removing the tumor to kill the remaining malignant cells in the brain. Tumors which are extremely deep inside the brain are usually treated with Gamma Knife therapy (highly advanced radiation therapy). It vital to see a therapist during the treatment.