What Is Tumors?

Tumors are the growth of abnormal body cells. Cells are the smallest units that make up the tissues of the human body. Each cell contains a gene that serves to determine the growth, development, or improvement that occurs in the body. There are several genes that work to control whether a cell must die, divide (multiply), or change to a particular shape (eg, nerve cells or muscle cells). If there is a change (mutation) in the genes, then the control of cell growth will be disrupted.

In this condition, old cells do not die even when it is time, and new cells will form even if the body does not need them. As a result, this collection of additional cells will form a mass, or commonly called a tumor.

When hearing the word tumor, many people suspect that the disease is definitely deadly. But the assumption is not entirely appropriate because the tumor is divided into 2 categories, namely benign tumors and malignant tumors.

Benign tumors only grow on one part of the body and do not spread or attack other parts. While malignant tumors or often called cancer is a tumor that can attack the surrounding tissue, into the blood vessels, and spread to other body parts. Benign tumors also usually will not grow again after removed, while malignant tumors have the possibility to relapse.

Causes and Tumor Risk Factors
Until now, the cause of tumor growth is still not known with certainty. Benign and malignant tumors have similar causes and risk factors, including:


Smoking is often associated with various types of cancer such as white blood cell cancer (leukemia), as well as cancer in various other organs such as esophagus, lung, mouth, pancreas, kidney, and stomach. In the United States noted that smoking accounts for 30% of all cancer deaths.


There are a number of viruses and bacteria have the ability to cause cancer, among others:
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) increases the risk of cervical cancer (cervix), penis, vagina, anus, and oropharynx.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses that increase the risk of liver cancer.
  • Epstein-Barr virus that increases the risk of Burkitt's lymphoma.
  • Helicobacter pylori that increases the risk of stomach cancer.

There are two types of radiation that are thought to potentially increase the risk of cancer, namely ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and ionizing radiation from medical devices such as X-rays, CT scans , fluoroscopy, and nuclear therapy radiation.

Drugs that suppress the immune system

These types of drugs are used in certain conditions, such as in patients who have recently received organ transplants. These drugs can increase the risk of cancer because it decreases the body's ability to fight the growth of cancer cells.

Dietary habit

Several studies have shown that consumption of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of colorectal cancer, as well as to protect the body from cancers in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and lungs. In addition, a diet high in fat, protein, calories, and red meat is thought to increase the risk of colorectal cancer, although further research is still needed to prove it.

Consumption of alcohol

Various studies have shown that alcohol consumption is closely related to increased risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, breast, liver, and colorectal.

Physical Activity

A number of studies have concluded that physically active people have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who are inactive. Several other studies have also suggested that physical activity can help fight endometrial cancer and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Being overweight or obese

Various types of cancer that may occur due to obesity include post-menopausal breast cancer, colorectal cancer, uterus, esophagus, kidney, and pancreas. However, there is no clear evidence whether weight loss in people with obesity can reduce the risk of cancer.


Diabetes and cancer have almost the same risk factors, namely old age, obesity, smoking, unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether cancer risk factors increase due to diabetes or because of these risk factors.

Environmental risk factors

Exposure to various chemicals in the environment has been linked to the risk of cancer. For example, the risk of lung cancer will increase due to cigarette smoke, air pollution, and asbestos. Drinking water containing high amounts of copper increases the risk of cancer in the skin, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract.

Genetic or hereditary

Not all types of cancer are hereditary. However, in some cases, gene mutations may be reduced to family members, such as the BRCA1 gene. Women who from the beginning had a BRCA1 gene had a 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Other types of cancers that can be passed on to family members include ovarian, uterine, prostate, melanoma, retinoblastoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Tumor Symptoms
Tumors can cause various symptoms. Some of the symptoms and clinical signs generally can be:
  • Often feel unwell.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Fever and chills.
  • No appetite.
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Sweating at night.
However, each tumor has different indications depending on the type and location of its growth. For example, brain tumors can cause unbearable headache symptoms, sudden vomiting, and convulsions . While the symptoms of benign lung tumor can be a sustained cough and worsening to eventually cough up blood , shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue.

There is also a type of malignant tumor that does not even cause symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, such as cervical cancer and liver cancer . Therefore, you are advised to always be vigilant and consult a doctor if you experience a condition that feels awkward even briefly light.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Tumors
In addition to asking for a history of illness, symptoms, and checking physical condition, the doctor will include several types of checks to confirm the patient's diagnosis. These examinations include:
  • Complete blood test and evaluation of organ function.
  • CT , MRI or PET scan . This step serves to confirm the location and extent of tumor spread.
  • Chest x-rays.
  • Biopsy or tumor sampling. This examination is used to confirm whether or not malignant tumors are suffered.
When diagnosed with a specific tumor, the doctor will assist you in determining appropriate treatment steps. Methods of handling the tumor that you will undergo depends on the type, location of tumor growth, and tumor malignancy.

There are a number of handling methods to deal with malignant tumors. Commonly recommended steps include:
  • Lifting operation.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Biological therapy.
  • Targeted therapies that only seek and attack cancer cells.
Patients generally require a combination of 3 methods, namely surgical removal, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.

If the malignant tumor remains in 1 location and has not spread, the cancer will usually be removed through surgical procedures.

Benign tumors can also generally be removed. But if it does not interfere with the performance of organs and does not adversely affect health at all, benign tumors sometimes do not need to be removed.

The earlier the tumor is detected, the chances of the patient to heal are also higher. Therefore, all tumors (malignant and benign) should be immediately diagnosed and treated because of the potential to cause various health complications if left alone.

Tumor Prevention Step
There is no prevention method that can provide total protection from the appearance of tumors. But there are a number of simple steps we can take to lower the risk of cancer. These steps include:
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Applying a healthy and balanced diet, such as increasing the consumption of fibrous foods (especially vegetables) and reduce consumption of fatty foods or containing preservatives.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid obesity.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Blocking the exposure of sunlight, for example by using sunscreen.
  • Minimize exposure of toxic chemical compounds, for example by wearing masks while riding public transport.
  • Minimize exposure to radiation.
  • Receive regular medical examinations.
  • Undergo the vaccinations needed to prevent cancer, such as HPV vaccine.

Understanding Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that grows on the nerve balance (vestibular) or the nerve connecting the ear with the brain. Benign brain tumors or in medical terms is also called vestibular schwannoma is grown from Schwann cells, cells that cover the balance nerves. As a result, hearing and balance functions are disrupted.

Acoustic neuroma disease generally affects adults between the ages of 30-60 years and is more commonly experienced by women. Most of these benign brain tumors develop slowly and rarely spread to other body parts. However, acoustic neuroma can be a serious problem if tumor growth becomes very large and suppresses the brainstem. This condition can be life-threatening because the brain stem governs the vital functions of the body. Treatments that can be performed for acoustic neuroma are periodic observations, radiation, or surgery to remove the tumor.

Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
The symptoms that acoustic neuroma can cause depends on the size of the tumor. Small tumor size usually does not cause significant symptoms. Symptoms will be felt along with the growth of tumors that suppress the auditory nerve and balance. In addition, the tumor can also suppress the nerves that control the muscles and sensation of feeling on the face, pressing the surrounding blood vessels or structures in the brain. The most common symptoms are:
  • Losing balance.
  • Vertigo .
  • Tinnitus .
  • Gradual or abrupt hearing loss. Usually this condition occurs in one ear.
If the size of an acoustic neuroma tumor is very large, several other symptoms will also appear. Among them are headaches continuously, limb coordination disorders ( ataxia ) on one side of the body, double vision or can not see clearly, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing, and paralysis, pain, or numbness on one side of the face .

Causes and Risk Factors of Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma occurs along the acoustic or vestibular nerve, which is one of the nerves of the brain. This nerve controls the hearing and balance of the body.

Acoustic neuroma is thought to be due to the function of the gene on chromosome 22 that can not run properly. The gene controls tumor growth in Schwann cells that cover nerve cells in the body, including the vestibular nerve.

The cause of the 22 chromosomal genes not working properly remains uncertain. However, the risk of acoustic neuroma is higher for a person with type 2 neurofibromatosis .

Diagnosis of Acoustic Neuroma
Diagnosis of acoustic neuroma begins by asking the symptoms experienced then followed by physical examination, especially ear examination. Many of the symptoms of acoustic neuroma are similar to those of middle or inner ear disease. In order not to misdiagnose, need to do some support test.

One of the auxiliary tests is a hearing or audiometry test. This test aims The audiometric test is performed by sounding in different tones of voice in each ear and the patient will be asked to signal every hearing.

Other investigations are scanning, especially in the brain. This test can be done with CT scan and MRI. CT X-ray aid. However, this examination often escapes a very small tumor. Careful examination can be performed with an MRI that can detect a tumor of 1 to 2 millimeters by using radio waves and magnetic fields. Through MRI, most acoustic neuromas can be identified.

Treatment of Acoustic Neuroma
Treatment options for acoustic neuroma depend on tumor growth, including tumor size and position, as well as consideration of the patient's overall health condition. For small tumors with slow growth or no significant symptoms, doctors will only observe with audiometry and regular scanning tests. Examination will be done every 6 months to 1 year. This periodic examination aims to determine the condition of tumor growth. If the growth of the tumor enlarges or shows certain symptoms, then the other handling is required.


Another treatment that can be done is radiation therapy. The type of radiation therapy that is commonly used in cases of acoustic neuroma is stereotactic radiosurgery . This therapy aims to stop tumor growth and maintain the function of the auditory nerve and nerve. Radiation therapy can be performed for small tumors or less than 3 centimeters in diameter. This therapy is also implemented if the patient's health condition is not possible to undergo surgery.

Provision of radiation therapy is done by directing gamma rays right on the tumor without damaging the surrounding tissue or doing an incision. The effects of the new radiation therapy are apparent after several weeks, months, or years through scanning or hearing tests. Radiation therapy has risks include buzzing ears, hearing loss, numbness and paralysis of facial muscles, balance disorders, or treatment failure (tumors continue to grow).


If tumor growth gets bigger, then possible treatment method can be an option is surgery. This procedure is usually performed by a specialist neurosurgeon and aims to remove the tumor as well as maintaining the function of the facial nerve, to prevent paralysis and maintain hearing function. The surgery is preceded by general anesthesia followed by cutting the tumor through the inner ear or opening the skull bone. However, in some cases, surgery can not remove all tumors because of the location of the tumor that is too close or occupy a vital part of the brain or facial nerve, so the risk of damaging the nerve or tissue around the tumor.

Postoperative care lasts 6 to 12 weeks. If the tumor is successfully removed completely, no further treatment is required. As for the remaining postoperative tumors, continued treatment can be done with radiation therapy.

Complications of Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma risks causing various complications that can be permanent, such as:
  • The ears ring.
  • numbness and paralysis of the facial muscles.
  • Balance disorders.
  • Loss of hearing.
  • Hydrocephalus due to large tumor suppression of the brain stem prevents the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that flows between the brain and the spine.

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