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Brain Tumors

September 13, 2015

A brain tumor is characterized by an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine area, which can cause a disruption in normal brain functionality. Tumors are classified based on cell origin, and whether they appear cancerous (malignant) or not (benign). Malignant brain tumors are aggressive in their type and growth, containing cancer cells that are known for growing quickly and invading surrounding brain tissue. On the opposite end, benign brain tumors are the least aggressive type because they do not contain cancerous cells. They grow at a much slower pace and are not in danger of spreading into other tissue.

Primary tumors are those which begin in cells of the brain and have the potential to spread to other parts of the brain or spine, but not as much to other organs. Often referred to as secondary brain tumors, metastatic tumors tend to start in another part of the body and later spread to the brain.

Brain tumor symptoms are often dependent on the type and location, and can sometimes present itself with no symptoms at all, when first discovered. Patients with brain tumors frequently complain of reoccurring headaches, problems with eyesight, seizures, changes in mood or personality, and short-term memory loss, among others. Proper diagnosis of a brain tumor can involve specialists that perform a brain scan (MRI), as well as a biopsy, if further information is needed.

Treating brain tumors involves careful evaluation and can vary based on each patient’s individual type and case. For example, some may experience severe symptoms and require pain or antiseizure medication to help manage and control headaches and seizures. Treatment can also involve surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue, which helps to improve symptoms. In other instances of more advanced brain tumors, chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary in order to destroy the cancer cells and stop their ability to grow. BASIC can help assess the best treatment option and ensure quality care to patients affected with brain tumors.