- 07 June 2019
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Everything You Wanted to Know About Brain Tumor
Sunshine Hospital Bhubaneshwar’s neurology department is well-known for the treatment of brain tumor and cancer-related ailments. In this blog, you can learn more about what brain tumors are, symptoms, factors that accelerate the growth of cancerous cells, diagnostic methods available for early detection of the disease, treatment options available, and preventative care to tackle tumours. Continue your reading to know more about the brain tumor.
Brain, the body part which controls a human body’s conscious and subconscious activities, is located in the head. The brain communicates with the whole of the human body using the spinal cord and the cranial nerves.
Using these, the brain controls auditory sense, vision, facial sensation, taste, smell, swallowing, movement of the face, neck, upper and lower extremities (arms, shoulders, hands, legs), and tongue muscles. The functional unit of the brain is a neuron, which is millions in number and using these neurons, the brain communicates with the body.
The most common ailment a brain encounters is tumor. Some tumors are life-threatening while some are not. Although treatment for life-threatening tumors is available, thanks to the medical field advancements, it is better to prevent them by resorting to a healthy lifestyle and to get periodic medical checks for any adversities which could be nipped in the bud.
What are Tumors?
A tumors are an abnormal growth of body tissue. Generally, old cells die and to replace them, new cells form, grow and divide as your body needs them. Sometimes, this process goes haywire. When the Old cells don’t die, but the New cells form and that our body does not need them, and these extra cells form a mass, it is called a tumor.
Tumors can be either benign or malignant.
Benign Tumors: They are non-cancerous. Slow growth and these cells grow in one place and cannot spread or invade to other parts of the body. They usually don’t grow back.
Malignant Tumors: They are cancer cells. They are life-threatening as they multiply and spread or invade other parts of the body.
Brain Tumor is a disease of the brain in which tumor cells (Malignant) proliferate in the brain tissue. Abnormal tumor cells grow to form a mass known as tumor, which interferes with brain function, such as muscle control, sensory function, memory, and other normal brain functions. The abnormal growth tissue in the brain causes Brain Tumor.
A tumor may originate in the brain itself, called Primary Brain Tumor, or a tumor may originate in another part of the body and spread to the brain, called Metastatic or Secondary Tumor.
Causes of Brain Tumor
There are no precise or exact reasons behind the formation of brain tumor cells, but some research studies show use of cellular phones, hair dyes, head trauma can lead to brain tumor and some of the factors are:
- Habits: Nowadays, lifestyle changes such as smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, abusing drugs such as Cocaine, etc. paves a path for the formation of brain tumor
- Excessive Weight: Increase in the level of Estrogen in the body causes weight gain, which may affect the brain and cause Meningioma. Proteins like insulin and inflammatory cytokines that control the immune system suppress immunity and cause tumor
- Diet: Food consuming a lot of NaNO2 may cause brain tumor
- Viral Infections: Epstein-Barr Virus-Primary brain lymphoma
- Environmental Factors: pesticides, chemicals
Risk Factors of Brain Tumor
- Exposure to radiation: People who are exposed to ionizing radiation have an increased risk of brain tumor. Some of the ionizing radiation include radiation therapy, which is used to treat cancer. Also, radiation exposure due to atomic bombs also leads to tumor growth.
- You Age: Your risk of brain tumor increases with your age.
- Family history of brain tumors: A family history of brain tumors, genetic syndromes that increase the risk of brain tumor. It occurs very rare. Certain genetic conditions have been linked to brain tumors, but most of the Brain tumors are not inherited, they are neurofibromatosis type 1, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.
Symptoms of Brain Tumor
Depending upon the type and location, brain tumor symptoms can vary. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Headaches are common, usually worse in the morning time
- Weakness of limbs
- Lack of coordination
- Visual disturbances
- Change in the diet (Loss of apatite)
- Compromise in circulatory, endocrine, and metabolic function
- Sensory disturbance
- Problems with cognition and memory
- Muscle jerking and twitching
- Personality change as excessive anger, mood swing etc
Types of Brain Tumor and How do They Happen
Primary brain tumors start in the brain, or the area surrounding the brain. These can, form in the skull, cranial nerves, brain membrane, Pituitary gland, and pineal gland. With primary brain tumor, there is no other source of cancerous growth or tumors within the body. There are many types of brain tumors, which are divided into either primary or secondary.
Primary Brain Tumor: These type of tumors begin in the brain. Primary brain tumors are divided based upon what type of cell the tumor begins. Some primary brain tumor, types are:
- Grade I-Pilocytic Astrocytomas
- Grade II-Diffuse or Fibrillary astrocytoma
- Grade III-Anaplastic astrocytoma
- Grade IV-Glioblastoma multiforme
- Pituitary Adenomas
- Acoustic neuroma
Secondary brain tumors are tumors that grow elsewhere in the body and spread or metastasize to the brain; For example, secondary brain tumors could have begun as lung cancer or breast cancer and spread to surrounding body parts.
Primary Brain Tumors are Explained:
- They are the second most common primary neoplasm (brain tumor) of the central nervous system.
- Arises in the meninges, which are the membranes that cover the brain.
- They are caused due to radiotherapy, head trauma, viral infection, Estrogen receptors
- It is originated from the arachnoid cells (Meningo Epithelial cap cells Generally seen in arachnoid villi
- It cannot be diagnosed if there are no symptoms
- It is caused more in women compared to men.
- Complete Microsurgical is the best cure for these tumors
- Most common primary brain tumor
- Originated from glial cells or their stem cells
- The clear risk factor is ionizing radiation
- Based on Increased cellularity, nuclear atypia, endothelial proliferation, necrosis there are three
- types they are Astrocytoma, Oligodendroglioma, Ependyma.
1. Astrocytoma: Most Prevalent type of Glioma Cerebral Astrocytoma more seen in adults, Cerebellar Astrocytoma seen in Children’s
- Grade I-Pilocytic Astrocytomas:
- Slow growing, with relatively well-defined borders
- Grows in the cerebrum, optic nerve pathways, brainstem, and cerebellum
- Occurs most often in children and young adults
- Grade II-Diffuse or Fibrillary astrocytoma
- Most common in the cerebral hemisphere in young adults
- Low grade or benign historically
- Infiltrative usually a problem because the tumor cannot be resected completely, this is a characteristic of the tumor
- Latent potential for malignant transformation
- Grade III-Anaplastic astrocytoma
- Grow faster and more aggressively than grade II
- Have increased pleomorphism, enlarged nuclei and most importantly, increased proliferative activity that is reflected as increased mitotic activity
- Common among men and women in their 30s-50
- Grade IV-Glioblastoma multiforme
- Most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults is Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)
- It Can cross the midline in a butterfly pattern: this shows the aggressive nature of this tumor because the midline is composed of a tough dura.
- GBM can go to the CSF spaces such as the subarachnoid spaces and communicate with the ventricular system.
- Grade IV-Glioblastoma multiforme
- Found within the cerebral hemisphere, within the brain parenchyma
- Highly infiltrative
- May metastasize distantly in ventricular and subarachnoid spaces like GBM
- Occurs frequently in the frontal or temporal lobes
- Ependymoma is a tumor that arises from the ependyma, a tissue of the central nervous system
- There are no known causes for ependymoma, but there have been a number of mutations in the
- genes in the patients who diagnosed with these diseases
- Intracranial ependymomas predominate in children
- Starting in embryonic cells in the spine or of the skull nerve
- Chordoma develop from the lower part of spine and lower base of skull
- These tumor grows slowly and is seen in individual age 50-60
- Main treatment for this is surgery. By this, the tumor can be removed completely or partially
- Starting in the blood vessel and normally large in size
- This is a rare type of tumor that develops from the cells that line the blood vessels. This are benign and grow slowly. For the appearance of the symptoms, it may take several years.
- Seen commonly in men
- They are benign head tumors In the head, Skull bones, sometimes they found in neck.
- They are noncancerous, but they can sometimes cause headaches, sinus infections, hearing issues, or vision problems.
- Most of the osteomas does not require treatment at all. If treatment is needed, it is surgery, pain relievers, or other minimally invasive techniques to provide relief.
- It is derived for In the Pineal gland and can be successfully removed
- These are generally occur in the center of the brain
- These are seen in adults and are noninvasive, slow growing and homogenous
- In the Pituitary gland. They are benign. Symptoms often appear as disturbance in vision or hormone levels.
- This is the most common intracranial tumors next to meningiomas, gliomas, and schwannomas
- This are seen in children and among people in the age of 30-40s
- In the cells that wrap around the nerves
- These are the most common non-cancerous tumor seen in adults
- These develop in the nerves and comprised of nerve cells which provides electrical insulation for nerve cells
- The pressure causing directly to nerves up to the brain so this may lead to death
- One of the most common malignant brain tumors in children, but rare in adults.
- They usually develop in the cerebellum at the back of the brain but may spread to other parts of the brain. Very occasionally, these tumors spread outside the brain to the lymph nodes or lungs.
- Medulloblastomas is a type of primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET). PNET develop from cells that are left over from the earliest stages of baby’s development in the womb.
- This is also called as vestibular schwannomas or neurilemmoma this are benign tumors which develops in the acoustic or auditory nerve, which helps to control hearing and balance. The nerve is covered by cells called Schwann cells. The tumors starts from these cells, so it is also called as schwannoma
- They are usually seen in adults and are common in people who have a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 2
- Ganglia or ganglion include neoplastic nerve cells
- These tumors are occurs in young adults
- Complete removal of tumor will completely cure gangliomas
- The most common type of glomus tumor is Glomus Jugulare
- These tumors develop on the top of jugular vein which is under the skull base
- The removal of these tumors are very complex by surgery
Diagnostic Findings for Brain Tumor:
The initial test includes a medical history and physical examination of the person.
- CT Scan: It is used more frequently. A dye needs to be injected into a vein for better images of some internal brain structures.
- MRI has high sensitivity and detects anatomic changes in the brain. Contrast enhanced MRI has a grater role for detail evaluation.
- Spectography: Somewhat helps in differentiating carcinoma and tubroclosis
- PET Scan: It is investigation of choice to detect metastasis, the disease process in all over the body.
- Angiogram: This test is done to look at the blood vessels present in the head. It is done if the tumor is close to a blood vessel
- Stereotactic Biopsy: A tissue sample may be obtained by the surgery by insertion of a needle to help determine the diagnosis by examining the tissue.
- Other tests:
- Different ore-operative blood tests, ECG, Chest X-raywill help determine the patient’s state of health or to detect other health problems
- To detect abnormal cells in CSF (Post -surgery) HP study, Immunoflorosis and genetic study also helps in correct diagnostics.
Treatment Options for Brain Tumor:
The main treatments used for brain tumors are:
The treatment or the combination of the treatments is advised in each case depending on various factors.
Surgery is often main treatment for benign brain tumors and primary malignant tumors. Surgery aims to remove tumors for even some of the tumor while doing as little damage as possible to normal brain tissue
Minimal invasive brain surgery or key hole surgery is an development and most accepted modality for better patient compliance, less morbidity, less complications, less blood loss, and less hospital stay etc.
Radiotherapy is the treatment, which uses high energy beams of radiation which are focused on cancerous tissue, and kills cancer cells partially or stops cancer cells from multiplying
Radiotherapy is used for malignant brain tumor where surgery cannot help. Sometimes it is used in addition to surgery if it is not possible to remove all the tumor with surgery or to kill cancerous cells which may be left behind following surgery.
Some of them are, Interstitial radiation, Stereotactic radiosurgery, Radiation Sensitizing therapy, intraoperative radiation, radioactive monoclonal antibodies.
Chemotherapy is a treatment which uses anti-cancer medicines or chemicals to kill cancer cells or to stop them from multiplying. It may be used in addition to other treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy, again, depending upon various factors such as the type of tumor.
If the patient has seizures caused by the tumors, than anticonvulsant medication will usually control the seizures. Painkillers may be needed to ease any headaches; steroid medications are also commonly used to reduce the inflammation around a brain tumor.
This type of medication given to reduce the pressure inside the skull that helps to relieve headaches and other pressure symptoms
Prevention of Brain Tumor
- Eating healthy, and not consuming too much unhealthy product
- Exercising regularly
- If genetic, reach a doctor for early diagnosis
- Try not to consume NaNO2 that increases the risk of brain tumor
- No smoking and no drugs
A brain is a crucial part of our body, whose well-being is pivotal. A human brain does several crucial functions including smell, taste, touch, hearing, among others. A tumour, as discussed in length in the main article, is a cancerous growth which hampers the brain’s function.
Multiple research studies shed no light on the growth of cancerous cells and how they originate, but they shed light on the external causes that accelerate the cell growth. A healthy lifestyle and refraining from exposure to radiation would go a long way in preserving the life of the brain.
Both benign and malignant brain tumour are subjected to reoccur. Treatment of brain tumor is not an easy. It requires a proper diagnosis and analysis. Our Sunshine hospital is equipped with world-class tumor and cancer treatment facilities and advanced technologies. Recurrent tumors can be treated by our experienced doctors.
At our Sunshine hospital, based on the type and location of the tumor the doctors team will discuss treatment plan with patient family. Our specialists use the latest tumor and cancer treatment technologies like operative advances with navigation, awake surgery techniques, neurophysiology monitoring.
Contracting a brain tumor doesn’t mean the end of life. Proper diagnostic testing and supervision of an able and experienced doctor at Sunshine Hospital can make a difference. Early detection and our effective treatment can restore your happy life back.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
Sunshine Hospitals, Bhubaneswar is an ultramodern 125-bed, tertiary care hospital located in the heart of Bhubaneswar. Established in the year 2015 with a mission to provide quality healthcare services to the people of Odisha. Sunshine’s patient-first approach steers it steadily in the direction of ensuring that state-of-the-art technology meets state-of-the–heart services to produce positive patient outcomes.