Though it is not known exactly what causes brain tumors, there are several risk factors that have been identified.
What is a Brain Tumor?
Abnormal cells that have collected in the brain are considered a tumor. They can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign (unlikely to spread). Because there is a limited amount of space in the skull, tumors can interfere with functions of the brain and body. Tumors work to destroy brain cells, increase inflammation, and elevate pressure in the brain.
Primary brain tumors originate in the brain. If cancer cells from other parts of your body cause a tumor in the brain, it is known as a secondary or “metastatic” brain tumor. While primary brain tumors can occur, secondary tumors are three times more common and they are always malignant.
Adult Brain Tumors
Descriptors for brain tumors are based on their location, tissue type, and the cells that compose the mass.
Brain tumors commonly found in adults are:
Gliomas can be non-cancerous or mixed cells. Glioblastomas are the most aggressive form of glioma.
Adults aged 40-70 are most likely to develop meningioma. Usually they occur in woman and for the most part, are non-cancerous.
Schwannomas usually affect both men and women in the 40-70 age range.
The above are the most common brain tumors that occur in adults but there are also rare tumors such as pituitary tumors, primary lymphoma of the brain, and ependymomas.
Causes of Adult Brain Tumors
Though there is no known cause at this point, the following are risk factors for brain tumors:
• Genetic diseases
There are some genetic diseases that may make you more susceptible to brain tumors. Turcot syndrome is characterized by abnormal cells and polyps and neurofibromatosis is also a tumor-causing genetic disorder.
• Radiation treatment
Radiation treatment for brain cancer can lead to further brain tumors.
Some people believe that extensive use of a cell phone can cause brain cancer however, there have not been any studies that prove the claim. Because it can take 10 years or more for a tumor to manifest, researchers continue to explore the question and conduct studies.
Symptoms of a Brain Tumor
Symptoms can vary from person to person and will depend on the size and the location of the tumor. Another factor is the amount of swelling caused by the tumor and whether or not the tumor has spread. Some common symptoms include:
• Possible memory loss, confusion, and disorientation
• Trouble walking
• Lack of coordination and balance
• Weakness in your limbs, face, or one side of your body
• Headaches that come on while sleeping, when waking up, or as a result of abrupt physical movements such as coughing or sneezing
• Changes in hearing, taste, smell, or sight
• Bladder control issues
• Trouble with reading, writing, talking, or understanding others
• Changes in mood, personality, or behavior
Diagnosis of a Brain Tumor
There are different tests that doctors use to determine if someone has a brain tumor.
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Your brain and nerve tissues are scanned.
• Cranial Computed Tomography Scan (CT)
X-rays of your head are taken and the images are put together so the doctor can put together a clear picture of the inside of your head.
• Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Your brain’s electrical impulses are examined.
• Tumor tissue can be removed in a surgical procedure or biopsy so that it can be examined.
• A doctor can test cerebral spinal fluid for cancer cells.
Brain Tumor Treatment
Surgery is one option for the treatment of a brain tumor. If the tumor cannot be fully removed, a doctor will attempt to reduce the size of the tumor.
• Radiation therapy
Medications will reduce swelling and pressure in the brain. A doctor may use corticosteroids or diuretics. They may also use medications to treat specific symptoms such as pain and seizures.
If you would like further information about what causes brain tumors, contact the professionals at Yashar Neurosurgery. The dedicated team of professionals are able to offer further information.