Description The brain comprises three basic units – the forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain. Brain tumors are mostly found in the base of the skull and the lower portion of the spine. The growth of abnormal cells within the brain or spinal cord which disrupts brain functioning is called brain cancer.
Symptoms Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, vision issues, speech and hearing difficulty, weakness and confusion. There are many types of brain tumors.
Gliomas develop from supporting brain cells and leads to malignant brain tumors. Meningiomas arises from the coverings of brain and spinal cord and leads to primary brain tumors. Astrocytomas account for the growth of about 30% of gliomas. Although the median age for brain tumors among men is late 50s, brain tumors are possible in children too and is the leading cause of blindness in children.
Although rare, paediatric brain tumors are known among children. Brain tumors are classified according to the cell of origin: Neuroepithelium, cranial nerves, sella, germ cell, meninges, hematopoietic.
Symptoms are diverse and can be based on the neuroanatomic pathway that is disrupted by the tumor. Symptoms reveal themselves progressively over weeks and months – gait imbalance, headache or vomiting.
Often it’s possible to study signs and symptoms and know the tumor location. For instance frequent vomiting, head tilting, enlarged head suggests the posterior fossa ventricular system, double vision or loss of vision; cranial nerve palsy suggests optic pathway, brainstem, posterior fossa; tics and tremors and movement disorder suggest the location of the tumor is midbrain.
Investigations may include MRI of the brain and spine, pre-operative laboratory tests, ophthalmologic exam, tumor markers. Surgery, radiation, stereotactic radio therapy are some of the therapies used.