Brain Tumor Symptoms and Treatments
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine, that is responsible for proper brain functionality. Doctors refer to a problem based on where the tumor cells originated, and whether they are cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (Benign)
Benign-The least aggressive of the tumor is benign tumor. They originate from cells within or surrounding the brain, do not contain cancer cells, grow slowly, and typically have clear borders.
Malignant- Malignant type contains cancer cells and often do not have clear borders. They are considered to be life threatening because they grow rapidly and invade surrounding brain tissue.
Primary- Tumors that start in cells of the brain are called primary brain tumors. The tumor can spread to the other parts of the brain or to the spine.
Metastatic- Secondary type begins in the part of the body and then spread to the brain. These tumors are more common than primary brain tumors.
When the brain tumor is suspected, a number of tests may be done to help the doctor reach a brain tumor diagnosis. These tests may also be able to help the doctor determine what kind of tumor it is.
Some of the tests performed to first diagnose the tumor and later used to monitor progress- to see, if the tumor has disappeared, is striking, remains the same or has changed in the same way.
The doctors, nurses, and other professionals give these tests can provide an answer, information, reassurance to help one feel more at ease.
The most common symptoms of a brain tumor include
• Numbness in arms and legs
• Memory problems
• Balance and walking problems
• Nausea and vomiting
• Change in speech, vision, or hearing
Brain tumors grades
Brain tumor is classified as grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, and grade 4 type of tumor
Grade 1- Benign tumors with a slow growth rate, look like normal brain cells.
Grade 2- Malignant tumors that look less normal than the grade 1 tumors.
Grade 3- Malignant tumors that look very different from normal cells. They grow actively and look distinctly abnormal.
Grade 4- Malignant tumors with distinctly abnormal-looking cells that grow and spread rapidly.
To diagnose a type, the doctor starts by asking questions about your symptoms and taking a personal and family health history. Then he/she perform a physical exam including a neurological exam. If there’s reason to suspect a brain tumor, the doctor may request one or more of the following tests.
• Imagine studies such as CT scan or MRI to see detailed images of the brain.
• Angiogram, which involves the use of dye and X-ray of blood vessels in the brain to look for the signs of the type or abnormal blood vessels.
• The doctor may also ask for a Biopsy to determine whether or not the tumor is cancer. A tissue sample is removed from the brain either during surgery to remove the tumor with the needle inserted through a small hole drilled.
• Options include treatment by surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How are it can be treated
Surgery to remove the brain tumor is typically the first option, once a brain tumor has been diagnosed. However, some tumor can’t be surgically removed because of their location in the brain. In those cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both options for killing and shrinking the tumor.
Because treatment for cancer also can damage healthy tissue, it’s important to discuss possible side and long term effects of whatever treatment is being used with your doctor. Rehabilitation could involve working with different therapies
• Physical therapist to regain strength and balance
• Speech therapist to address problem with speaking, expressing thought
• Occupational therapist to help manage daily activities such as using bathing and dressing the wound properly.