Brain Cancer - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
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Brain Cancer - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Brain cancer occurs when cells in the skull grow and multiply uncontrollably. Abnormally growing cells in the brain tissue form a mass or tumor and begin to put pressure on the skull, which is a complex structure. This situation, in turn, can lead to an increase in intracranial pressure, which creates an environment for various neurological and epileptic disorders.

Although brain tumor is an uncommon disease, it is estimated that the number of cases with brain tumors will increase as the world population ages. For this reason, since it is possible to prevent the disease with early diagnosis, it is recommended that people who have the disease apply to the departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

What Are the Types of Brain Tumor?

Brain tumor localization mainly occurs in the posterior skull cavity; tumors spreading from other organs are not expected—the structure of the tumor changes with age. In adults, brain tumors are attached to the brain tissue or occur in the brain membrane, but the spread of cancers in other organs to the brain can also be observed.

There are many types of brain tumors, but they are divided into two groups.

Primary Brain Tumor

It is also known as a primary brain tumor. These types of tumors can be formed from the brain tissue itself, as well as; They consist of nerves, membranes, skull bone, or muscle tissue around the skull. It divides itself into groups.

Benign Brain Tumor

Benign brain tumors, also known as benign brain tumors, grow very slowly. Since they are not of brain cell origin, they can be easily distinguished and removed by surgical intervention. On the other hand, benign tumors that cannot be removed by surgery can grow and press on the brain and turn into malignant tumors over time.

Malignant Brain Tumor

Malignant brain tumors, also known as malignant brain tumors, multiply rapidly. Because it is formed between brain cells, it is intertwined with brain tissue and may be more difficult to remove by surgery. Surgical intervention can lead to loss of brain functions.

Secondary Brain Tumor

A secondary brain tumor, also known as a secondary brain tumor, occurs when cancerous cells form in tissues such as the lung, breast, prostate spread (metastasize) to the brain through the blood circulation. The type of treatment varies according to the location of the tumor and the risk it brings.

What Causes Brain Tumor?

Although the exact cause of brain tumors is not known, there are some risk factors.

Family Story

Generally, between 5 and 10 percent of all cancers are caused by genetic causes. Heredity is also a risk factor for brain tumor formation. For this reason, it is recommended that people with a family history of brain tumors have regular medical check-ups.

Age

Studies have shown that the risk of brain tumors increases with age.

Race

The incidence of a brain tumor in white races is higher than in other races.

Radiation

Those exposed to ionizing radiation have an increased risk of developing brain tumors. Examples of this risk group are those exposed to radioactive fallout due to nuclear disasters such as Fukushima and Chernobyl and those who have cancer treatment with radiation.

Metastasis

Cancerous cells formed in other body parts can also spread to the brain and cause tumor formation there.

Types of cancer with the highest tendency to metastasize:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Melanoma, a variety of skin cancer

What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Tumor?

Symptoms of a brain tumor vary according to the size and location of the tumor. These are:

  • Headache that worsens, especially in the morning
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of balance
  • Difficulty walking
  • Temporary memory losses
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Vision loss
  • Personality changes
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Muscle pull
  • Fainting for no reason
  • Numbness
  • Tingling in hands and legs
  • Epileptic seizures

How Is a Brain Tumor Diagnosed?

Early diagnosis of brain tumors is essential. A patient who applies to his doctor with several of the above complaints is first evaluated with a neurological examination. Various bodily functions that may be associated with brain tumor formation are examined through neurological examination. These are:

  • Coordination of legs and hands
  • Muscle strength
  • Reflexes
  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Balance
  • Memory
  • Intelligence

After the neurological examination, one or more of the tests such as Computed tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR), Angiography, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination are used. Thus, the presence of the tumor is observed in more detail, and its size and location are examined. On the other hand, brain biopsy (sampling from brain tissue) can clarify the diagnosis or determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant.

Treatment of A Brain Tumor

After the tumor’s location, size, and type are determined in detail, the most accurate treatment method is decided by considering the patient’s age and general health status. In general, there are three main methods in the treatment of brain tumors.

Surgical Treatment

It is the most preferred method in benign brain tumors. It is possible to remove all of these tumors with surgical intervention. On the other hand, different treatments are needed for brain tumors that cannot be removed entirely. In some cases, it may be challenging to remove malignant brain tumors by surgical intervention. For cancerous cells that spread to the brain by metastasis, a treatment is applied according to the type of original cancer.

Radiotherapy

When deemed necessary, radiotherapy is usually administered 1 month after surgical treatment. Radiotherapy aims to kill tumor cells or slow down their growth by giving proton, gamma, or x-rays to the diseased area. Radiotherapy sessions; may vary depending on the type of tumor, patient’s age, general health status, and neurological findings.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy aims to eliminate the tumor with particular drugs. Oral or intravenous drugs reach the tissues through the blood circulation. Although it is generally preferred in malignant tumor treatments, chemotherapy can also treat benign tumors located in the pituitary gland.

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