Brain tumors, which are a group of abnormal cancer cells developing and growing in the brain, can emerge in childhood or adulthood and can affect both males and females. There are different types of tumors that can form in the brain, depending on the cells which have mutated.
Primary brain tumors are tumors that start first in the brain, and are classified by the type of brain cell that makes up the tumor. The most common primary brain tumors are called gliomas. These begin in the glial, or supportive, tissue of the brain. Cancer cells that started growing in another organ, like the lung, breast, skin, or kidney, and then spread to the brain are secondary brain tumors, or metastatic brain tumors.
While there is no clear cause of brain tumors, there are some factors that may put people at higher risk. Individuals exposed to radiation, dangerous chemicals, or those with immune disorders or carrying certain genes may be more likely to develop brain tumors.
While some symptoms of a brain tumor are more serious, others are similar to symptoms we see in other more common illnesses. Some of the most common symptoms are headaches, seizures, nausea, and weakness or numbness in one side of the body. Individuals suffering from brain tumors may also experience changes in vision and speech, increased sleepiness and difficulty staying alert, or even memory trouble.
Brain tumors can also cause sudden changes in personality or mood. If these symptoms exist, doctors can determine whether a brain tumor is present by conducting diagnostic tests. A PET, MRI, or CT scan may be performed to determine whether there are any other areas on the body with cancer. Oncologists may also test the fluid found in central nervous system to confirm if cancer cells are present. If a tumor is found, your doctor may remove part of it to learn more about the cells and how to best treat the cancer.