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Brain Tumor - What Are The Types?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sajjan Rajpurohit 85% (41 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Oncology, DNB - Super Speciality, Immuno Oncology
Oncologist, Delhi  •  17 years experience
Brain Tumor - What Are The Types?

Brain tumours vary in shape and size and the same is the case with their symptoms. The location of the tumour affects the symptoms greatly. Just like in any other type of a malignant tumour, brain tumour has a rapid growth and proliferation of abnormal cells that may have its origin in affected site or areas adjacent to it. As per studies, every 2 in 1,00,000 people are said to be affected by brain tumour in India. However, it may come as a relief to some as not all brain tumors are cancerous or life threatening. Some are benign tumors and seldom pose any threat to the affected individual.

Types of Brain Tumor
Brain tumors may be primary or secondary.

  1. Primary brain tumor: Here the abnormal mass of cells that originated in the brain do not metastasize to the other organs. Based on their location in the brain, the primary brain tumors may be of the following types.
    • Gliomas: One of the most common types of primary brain tumors, gliomas can have their origin in the spinal cord or the brain. Some of the common types of gliomas include Astrocytomas (originates in the cerebrum of the brain), Glioblastomas (these tumors form from the Astrocytes which form the supportive tissues of the brain), Ependymoma (these develop from the ependymal cells which are present within the CNS), Oligodendrogliomas (these tumors are found to arise from the oligodendrocytes).
    • Schwannomas: Also called as Acoustic neuromas, these primary brain tumors form on the nerves that play an important role in regulating the balance and hearing from the inner ear to the brain.
    • Meningiomas: These type of tumors are usually benign and have their origin in the meninges (membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain).
    • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs): Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) are rare malignant tumors that originate from the fetal (embryonic) cells in the brain.
    • Pituitary adenomas: As the name suggests, these tumors arise from the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain.
    • Medulloblastomas: Common among the children, these malignant primary tumors develop in the brain (lower back) and gradually spread via the spinal fluid.
    • Other types of primary brain tumors include Craniopharyngiomas and the Germ cell tumors.
  2. Secondary brain tumors: Unlike the primary brain tumors, these tumors have their origin in the other body parts and organs (mostly in the lungs, skin, colon, breast, and kidney) and then gradually metastasize to the brain. The secondary brain tumors are found to be more common.

Symptoms or warning signs associated with brain tumors:
Some of the signs and symptoms that may be indicative of a brain tumor include

  1. People with brain tumors often get seizures (due to the irritation caused by the tumors in the brain).
  2. A headache (mild to severe depending on the part of the brain affected by the tumor).
  3. A person experiences numbness or a tingling sensation in the legs and arms.
  4. There may be difficulties in walking or balancing.
  5. A person finds it difficult to concentrate.
  6. There may be some problems with hearing, speech or even vision.
  7. A person may experience weakness restricted to only one part of the body.

The symptoms may not necessarily indicate a brain tumor but it is always wise not to neglect the symptoms either. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Oncologist.

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