Brain tumour if formed when abnormal cells form a mass or collection in your brain. Brain is composed of nerve cells and supportive tissues like glial cell and meninges. Brain has three major parts namely:
- Brain stem, which controls activity like breathing
- Cerebellum, which controls activity like moving muscles to walk and
- Cerebrum, which controls our senses like sight, memory, thinking, emotions and personality.
Brain is covered by the skull, which is very rigid. Thus, any growth within this restricted area may cause serious problems. Brain tumours can be both cancerous i.e. malignant or non-cancerous i.e. benign. When cancerous tumours grow they are capable of putting pressure inside the skull causing brain damage to the extent that it could be life-threatening.
Brain Tumours may occur at any stage They are of two types:
Primary brain Tumours – This type of tumour begins in the brain tissue
Metastatic brain tumour: This is cancerous tumour which begins in any part of the body and it can spread cancer cells, which grow in the brain.
Most common symptom of brain tumour is Headaches. Headaches may occur while you are sleeping or may be worse when you get up in the morning or may get even worse on doing exercise, coughing or sneezing.
Other symptoms are:
- blurred vision or double vision
- weakness of a limb or part of the face
- a change in mental functioning
- swallowing difficulty
- vertigo problem
- loss of balance
- hand tremors
In order to diagnose brain tumour neurological examinations is done to check whether your cranial nerves are intact. Tests like CT Scan, MRI, Angiography, Skull x-rays and biopsy are also carried out. Your doctor may check the optic nerve in your eyes with an ophthalmoscope. It is likely that changes in your optic nerve can occur when the pressure inside the skull increases. The doctor may also evaluate your ability to do mathematical calculations, check your muscle strength, memory and coordination.
For treating brain tumours the doctors first analyse the type, size and location of tumour and your general heath too. Surgery is the most common treatment for cancerous brain tumours. Surgeons are able to take out safely the full tumours but if the brain tumour is located in a difficult location only partial tumour is removed. Even partial removal of brain cancer can be beneficial.
After brain surgery is performed the risk of infection and bleeding is always there. Physical, speech and occupational therapy may be required for recovery after brain surgery.
Brain Surgery is at times combined with radiation therapy and chemotherapy, if required.