A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells originating directly in the brain (primary) or as a metastasis, or spread, from cancer located elsewhere in the body (secondary). A brain tumor takes up space within the skull and can interfere with normal brain activity. It can increase pressure in the brain, shift the brain or push it against the skull as well as invade and damage nerves and healthy brain tissue. Brain tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
Types of brain tumors include:
- metastatic tumors
- pituitary tumors
- primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)
- pineal region tumors
Signs and symptoms of brain tumors may vary, as different parts of the brain control different functions, but their symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion and emotional or behavioral changes.
If a patient experiences one or more brain tumor symptoms, a physician might perform a thorough physical examination and possibly order additional testing, such as an MRI, CT or biopsy, to make a diagnosis.
Based on tumor size, type and location, brain tumor treatment plans can be very different from one patient to another. Once the tumor type and grade is decided upon, most patients will have a multi-disciplinary team of specialists trained to treat every aspect of the tumor including a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologists and a doctor that specializes in chemotherapy (hematologist/oncologist).
For the most appropriate and individualized treatment plan for you or your loved one, please consult with your doctor(s).