What Is Brain Tumor?

Brain Tumor is the growth of abnormal cells in or around the brain organ. Brain Tumors can affect anyone, but most cases occur in adults. There are various types of brain tumors that are divided into two groups based on their development, namely benign tumors (not cancerous) and malignant tumors (cancerous). Tumors that grow in the brain are known as primary brain tumors, whereas tumors that grow in other parts of the body and spread to the brain are called secondary or metastatic brain tumors.

The level of brain tumor is divided from level 1 to level 4. This grouping is based on tumor behavior itself, such as the location of tumor growth, growth rate, and how spreading. Brain tumors are classified benign and not potentially malignant are at levels 1 and 2. While at levels 3 and 4, usually has the potential to become cancer and is often referred to as malignant brain tumor or brain cancer.

The following are the different types of benign brain tumors according to the location of their growth, namely:
  • Glioma . These tumors grow on the glia tissue (the tissue that binds the nerve cells and fibers) and the spinal cord. Most cases of brain tumors that occur is a type of glioma.
  • Meningioma . This tumor grows on the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. Most of these tumors are not cancerous.
  • Hemangioblastoma. These tumors grow on the blood vessels of the brain. This condition can cause partial paralysis and convulsions.
  • Acoustic neuroma. These tumors grow on acoustic nerves (nerves that help to control balance and hearing).
  • Pituitary Adenoma. This tumor grows on the pituitary gland (a small gland located below the brain). Most of these tumors are benign, but can affect pituitary hormones with effects throughout the body.
  • Craniofaringioma . The tumors most experienced by these children and adolescents grow near the base of the brain. Although rare, these tumors can affect the pituitary gland in the brain that releases hormones in the body, to other brain structures.
  • Medulloblastoma . This is a cancerous type of tumor and is mostly experienced by children. These tumors grow from the bottom of the back of the brain and tend to spread to the spinal cord fluid.
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNETs ) . This is a rare type of cancerous tumor. This type of tumor can grow in any part of the brain and originates from brain fetal cells.
  • Germ cell tumor. Tumors of this type usually develop in childhood when the testicles or ovaries begin to form. These tumors can sometimes move to other parts of the body, such as the brain.
In addition to the above tumor types, there is also a tumor consisting of a combination of several types of tumors, or a combination of tumors with different levels. Handling is highly dependent on the malignancy of the tumor, the location of the tumor, and your health condition.

This page specifically discusses brain tumors (benign) stage 1 and 2. Please read brain cancer to know more about malignant brain tumors.

Symptoms of Brain Tumors
The symptoms of brain tumor vary greatly from one to another. Symptoms appear to be affected by size, growth rate, and location of the tumor. Tumors that grow slowly may initially cause no symptoms. After a while, the tumor will put pressure on the brain that causes symptoms, such as convulsions and headaches. Brain tumors that are in certain locations can disrupt the brain's work system so that it does not work properly.

Causes of Brain Tumors
Until now the main cause of most cases of benign brain tumors is still unknown. There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of brain tumors. Hereditary factors as well as side effects of radiotherapy procedures are two of them.

Brain Tumor Treatment
Early diagnosis and treatment will facilitate the treatment of brain tumors. If not immediately addressed, this condition can become more serious. Brain tumors usually do not spread and just stay in one place. However, brain tumors can exert pressure and damage the surrounding area. Treatment depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor.

The surgical procedure of removing the tumor usually gives effective results and the tumor does not reappear.

But in the case of brain tumor glioma stage 2, often the condition reappears after the sufferer undergoing treatment. In addition, the tumor also has the potential to turn into a malignant brain tumor with faster spread and growth.

To help with the recovery process, your doctor will suggest several types of therapy. You can talk about the emotional impact of diagnosis and treatment of tumors by counseling.

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Symptoms Of Brain Tumors

The symptoms of brain tumors vary greatly and depend on the location, size, or growth rate of the tumor itself. Tumors that grow slowly at first may not cause any symptoms. Once a brain tumor starts putting pressure on the brain or makes some function of the brain unable to function properly, symptoms will begin to appear.

Here are some brain tumor symptoms based on where they appear:
  • Small brain or cerebellum . Tumors in this section can cause loss of coordination function, difficulty walking and talking, blinking eyes constantly, stiff neck, and vomiting.
  • Brainstem . Tumors in this section can cause walking difficulties, paralysis of facial muscles, shadows, and speech and swallowing difficulties.
  • Frontal lobes . Tumors in this section can cause changes in attitude, loss of sense of smell, and weak on one side of the body.
  • The parietal lobe . Tumors in this section can cause difficulty speaking, understanding words, writing, reading, and controlling movement. In addition, one part of the body can also experience numbness.
  • The occipital lobes . Tumors in this section can cause vision loss on either side.
  • The temporal lobe . Tumors in this section can cause convulsions, fainting, speech or memory disorders, and odd sense of smell.
  • Frontal lobes. Tumors in this section can cause personality changes, weakness on one side of the body, and loss of ability to smell.
There are several symptoms that potentially appear when the tumor presses the inside of the skull, including:
  • Dizziness or severe and persistent headaches (especially when looking down or coughing).
  • Convulsions.
  • Easy to drowsy.
  • Dazed.
  • Hallucinating.
  • Character changes.
  • Hearing or vision loss.
  • Impaired body balance.
  • Difficult to talk.
  • Disturbance of hand or foot movement.
Immediately see a doctor if you experience symptoms of dizziness or severe and sustained headaches without any obvious cause, especially if accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Causes Of Brain Tumors
Not yet known exactly what causes a person suffering from a primary brain tumor (tumor that first appeared in the brain or tissue around the brain). It is thought that primary brain tumors begin to appear when normal cells experience errors or DNA mutations. These mutations make cells grow and multiply at a faster rate, and stay alive when healthy cells are dead. As a result, abnormal cells build up and form tumors.

Primary brain tumors are less common than secondary brain tumors (brain tumors originating from cancers that grow in other parts of the body and then spread to the brain).

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of brain tumors, namely:
  • Age . The risk of having a brain tumor will increase as you get older because brain tumors are more common in older people. But be aware that brain tumors can appear at any age. There are several types of tumors that only appear in children.
  • Descendants Factor. If there are families with brain tumors, then a person's risk for developing a brain tumor is higher. In addition, there are several hereditary diseases that can increase the risk of having benign brain tumors, among which are type 1 and 2 neurofibromatosis, Turcot syndrome, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, Li-Fraumeni cancer syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis. These conditions tend to cause cancer to appear in childhood and early adolescence.
  • Exposure to radiation. Exposure to the type of radiation known as ionizing radiation can increase the risk of brain tumors. Ionizing radiation can affect humans when they undergo radiation therapy or exposed to radiation from atomic bomb explosions. While the radiation waves coming from electric towers, cell phones, and microwaves have not been shown to be linked to brain tumors.
Secondary brain tumors are more common. This condition is at risk for people with a history of cancer. Here are some types of cancers that can cause secondary brain tumors:
  • Bowel cancer.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Kidney cancer.
  • Melanoma.
  • Lung cancer.

Diagnosis Of Brain Tumors

Increased pressure on the skull is a sign of a tumor in the brain. If you have severe and persistent headaches, and suspect it as a symptom of a brain tumor, see your doctor immediately. If based on the examination found the potential growth of tumors, you will be advised to see a specialist brain and nerve (neurologist).

Brain tumors are diagnosed based on perceived symptoms, physical examination, and the results of some advanced tests. Physical examination includes:
  • Hearing and sight.
  • Reactions and reflexes (eg swallowing or lifting the knee).
  • The facial muscles (eg smile and grin).
  • Body strength.
  • Balance and coordination.
  • Skin sensitivity.
While further tests that may be suggested are:
  • Computerized tomography ( CT ) scan . X-ray scanning is done to get a clear picture of the inside of the brain.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI ) scan . The goal is the same as CT scan. But on an MRI scan, the scan is performed using a strong magnetic field and radio waves.
  • Electroencefalogram ( EEG ) . Brain activity will be recorded using electrodes.
  • Positron Emmision Tomography (PET). Scanning is done to check the function of tissues and organs.
  • Biopsy (tissue sampling) . This is done to determine the type of tumor and the appropriate treatment.

Brain Tumor Treatment

Treatment of brain tumors is highly dependent on the type, size, and location of the tumor. General health conditions will also be considered in this regard.

In most cases of benign brain tumors, surgical procedures are usually sufficient to remove the tumor. However, growing tumors slowly will usually regrow after treatment and potentially turn into malignant (cancer). Malignant tumors will tend to spread and grow rapidly. If you are a benign tumor, be sure to keep checking regularly even after you have finished the treatment.

Here are some types of treatment in cases of brain tumors, among them
  • Chemotherapy . This method of treatment is done to shrink the benign tumor. Chemotherapy is done by using drugs to kill tumor cells and given in the form of tablets, injections, or infusions.
  • Radiotherapy . Just like chemotherapy, radiotherapy also aims to shrink the benign tumor. The process uses energy radiation (usually X-rays ) to kill tumor cells.
  • Surgical removal of the tumor . The operation aims to remove the tumor as much as possible without damaging the surrounding tissue. This action requires a hair shaving process before perforating the part that has a tumor. Anesthesia will be done during this process.
  • Radiosurgery . Sometimes a tumor appears in a difficult part to remove without damaging the surrounding tissue. Under these conditions, the radiosurgery procedure will be considered as a solution. As long as radiosurgery is done, high enough energy radiation is directed at the tumor to kill its cells. The radiosurgery procedure did not take long and the recovery was very fast. However, not all hospitals provide procedures
  • Drugs . You will be given medicines to help overcome the symptoms caused by tumors, both before and after surgery. Examples of drugs to be given are anticonvulsants to prevent convulsions, corticosteroids to reduce swelling around tumors, pain relievers to cope with dizziness, and antiemesis to reduce nausea.
Usually you will be accompanied by a team of specialist doctors to determine the best treatment in handling your condition. You can also discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment method to be taken.

Recovery Process
To help speed up the recovery process, you will usually be advised by your doctor to take advanced therapy. Some examples of such therapies include:
  • Physiotherapy , to help restore muscle strength and motor skills lost due to tumors.
  • Occupational therapy , to help identify problems related to daily activities. In this case, occupational therapists will help provide advice on replacement equipment and equipment at home and at work in facilitating daily activities.
  • Speech therapy , to help overcome the disruption in speaking or swallowing.
  • Therapy for school-age children This therapy is done to recover their memory or thinking ability that is disturbed by a tumor
After undergoing brain tumor surgery, you will need adjustments in some of their daily activities, for example:
  • Driving and traveling . You should stop driving if you have or have had a brain tumor. By consulting with your treating doctor, there is still a possibility for you to be able to drive again. Traveling by plane will normally only be allowed back at least three months after treatment.
  • Back to work . You will feel more tired easily. It is recommended to work part time before you feel ready to work full time.
  • Sexual activity . Sex can be done after the doctor declares it safe to do. Especially for women, it is advisable to continue using contraceptives for 6 months to a year after chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Exercising. Should avoid sports that involve direct physical contact, such as boxing. You need approval from your doctor if you want to restart your exercise. At least for one year after treatment, you are not advised to swim without supervision because there is a risk of seizures while in the water.

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