A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue, which disrupts the proper functioning of the brain as more new cells add mass while the old and damaged cells do not die.
Some brain tumors are benign but others can be cancerous. The most common brain tumor in adults are gliomas and astrocytic and these develop from astrocytes and different types of glial cells which actually help to keep nerves healthy. Another type of brain tumor in adults is meningeal tumors, which is formed in the meninges, and its fast pace of spreading makes it life-threatening.
Causes and risk factors
The exact cause of a brain tumor is unknown, but there can be triggers that increase the risk of brain cancer. They are:
- Radiofrequency: Our tissue absorbs the radiofrequency energy emitted by mobile phones and can trigger the risk of brain cancer.
- Radiation: Radiations released during nuclear explosions can cause brain tumors. Ionizing radiation, which is known to treat some specific cancers also enhances the risk of brain cancers.
- Genetics: In some cases, brain cancer is linked to a genetic mutation.
- HIV/AIDS: People suffering from HIV or AIDS are at higher risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
- Hormone replacement therapy: Women taking hormone replacement therapy post-menopause are at increased risk of developing meningioma.
The symptoms of brain tumors vary depending upon their type, size, and location. The symptoms can be headaches, seizures, nausea, numbness extremities in the arms or legs, muscle jerking, a problem with memory, mood swings, difficulty in balancing and walking, the tendency of vomiting, facial paralysis, hearing or vision.
In general, adults above 40 years of age are more likely to be diagnosed with a brain tumor. However, age is not a clear determinant as any age group can be diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Diagnosis of brain tumor
A person with a suspected brain tumor will be recommended certain tests to check if there is a tumor in the brain and also to determine its type, location, or size. The tests include:
- Neurological tests to examine vision, hearing, alertness, the strength of muscles, etc.
- MRI for detailed images of the brain.
- CT Scan for viewing contrast materials by injection in blood vessels.
- Angiogram, by injecting dye, making blood vessels of the brain visible in x-ray,
- Biopsy to determine whether the tumor is cancerous or not.
Treatment of brain tumor
Treatment of a brain tumor depends on the size, type, and location of the tumor. The other factors like age and health condition of the patient are also considered to avoid complications during treatment. Treatment of brain cancer includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Along with treatment, it is also required that the patient has the support of their family, friends, and other support groups for mental strength to cope with the change that is brought about by such diagnosis.