What is a Brain Tumor?
A brain tumor is a benign growth of abnormal cells found in the central nervous system (CNS). The word “tumor” comes from the Latin word tum, which means “bad.” A normal part of your body may become cancerous if it develops into malignant or aggressive form. Some types of tumors are not life threatening, but they can cause problems such as:
Loss of balance and coordination
Difficulty speaking or swallowing due to swelling in the throat area (pharyngitis) or difficulty breathing because of narrowing of the airways (pulmonary embolism)
Other symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting
assimilation difficulties with new surroundings (anorexia nervosa)
These symptoms are usually temporary and resolve without treatment. If left untreated, however, some types of cancers may grow very rapidly. For example, in the case of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain tumor that grows rapidly in most cases, it can spread throughout the whole brain and kill you within a few months.
What are the different types of brain tumors?
There are about 200 different types of brain tumors. However, only 15 types of brain tumors cause most of the problems in people. In 2013, it is estimated that there will be more than 70,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in the brain and nearly 13,000 people will die from these diseases.
Some of the most common types of brain tumors are glioma (malignant), meningioma (benign), pituitary adenomas (benign), craniopharyngiomas (benign), acoustic neuromas (benign), pinealomas (malignant), metastatic tumors (malignant), and multiple sclerosis (non-cancerous).
Gliomas are the most common type of primary brain tumors that occur in children under the age of 15. Glioblastoma multiforme, a specific type of glioma that occurs mainly in adults between ages 20 and 40, is the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer in humans.
Meningiomas are the most common primary tumors that occur within the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These tumors usually do not spread to other parts of the body and grow fairly slowly. The cause is unknown, but when they do spread to other parts of the body, it is most likely to go to the lungs.
Acoustic neuromas are benign in most cases and occur when cells that form nerve tissue in the brain grow uncontrollably and form a tumor on the brain stem or cerebellum (back part of the brain). Acoustic neuromas can also occur as a result of exposure to certain medications, such as the anti-seizure medication called VPA (valproic acid) and some anti-cancer drugs.
Pituitary adenomas are tumors that consist of hormone-producing cells that can cause problems. The most common symptoms are loss of vision, changes in skin color, excessive hunger (hyperphagia), headache and vision problems (diplopia).
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy, or CP, is caused by an injury that damages the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. If the brain is damaged, it doesn’t develop skills in a normal way. Someone with cerebral palsy may have problems with movement, vision, hearing, learning, and thinking. Every case of CP is different. It also can change a lot over time.
What are the different types of cerebral palsy?
There are three major groups of cerebral palsy: spastic, athetoid, and ataxic.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. People who have it have muscles that are “tight” or “contractured,” especially in their legs and arms. This makes it difficult or impossible to move parts of their bodies in a smooth and controlled way.
Sources & references used in this article:
Studies on headache: the mechanisms and significance of the headache associated with brain tumor by EC Kunkle, BS Ray, HG Wolff – Bulletin of the New York Academy …, 1942 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Symptom management of brain tumor patients by MP Lovely – Seminars in oncology nursing, 2004 – Elsevier
Headaches in patients with brain tumors: a study of 111 patients by PA Forsyth, JB Posner – Neurology, 1993 – AAN Enterprises
Headache in brain tumours: a symptom to reappraise critically by A Boiardi, A Salmaggi, M Eoli, E Lamperti… – Neurological Sciences, 2004 – Springer
Headache in brain tumor: a cross‐sectional study by N Suwanwela, K Phanthumchinda… – Headache: The …, 1994 – Wiley Online Library