Brain Tumour Information
A brain tumor (or brain tumour) is an intracranial solid neoplasm, a tumor (defined as anabnormal growth of cells) within the brain or the central spinal canal.
Brain tumors include all tumors inside the cranium or in the central spinal canal. They are created by an abnormal and uncontrolled cell division, normally either in the brain itself (neurons,glial cells (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells, myelin-producing Schwann cells),lymphatic tissue, blood vessels), in the cranial nerves, in the brain envelopes (meninges), skull,pituitary and pineal gland, or spread from cancers primarily located in other organs (metastatic tumors).
Any brain tumor is inherently serious and life-threatening because of its invasive and infiltrative character in the limited space of the intracranial cavity. However, brain tumors (even malignant ones) are not invariably fatal. Brain tumors or intracranial neoplasms can be cancerous(malignant) or non-cancerous (benign); however, the definitions of malignant or benign neoplasms differs from those commonly used in other types of cancerous or non-cancerous neoplasms in the body. Its threat level depends on the combination of factors like the type of tumor, its location, its size and its state of development. Because the brain is well protected by the skull, the early detection of a brain tumor only occurs when diagnostic tools are directed at the intracranial cavity. Usually detection occurs in advanced stages when the presence of the tumor has side effects that cause unexplained symptoms.
Primary (true) brain tumors are commonly located in the posterior cranial fossa in children and in the anterior two-thirds of the cerebral hemispheres in adults, although they can affect any part of the brain.
Sign of symptoms:
The visibility of signs and symptoms of brain tumors mainly depends on two factors: tumor size (volume) and tumor location. The moment that symptoms will become apparent, either to the person or people around him (symptom onset) is an important milestone in the course of the diagnosis and treatment of the tumor. The symptom onset - in the timeline of the development of the neoplasm - depends in many cases on the nature of the tumor but in many cases it's also related to the change of the neoplasms nature from "benign" (i.e. slow-growing/late symptom onset) to more malignant (fast growing/early symptom onset) grading, and Sightly frequently with the moment for seeking medical attention.
Symptoms of solid neoplasms of the brain (primary brain tumors and secondary tumors alike) can be divided in 3 main categories :
Consequences of intracranial hypertension : The symptoms that often occur first are those that are the consequences of increased intracranial pressure: Large tumors or tumors with extensive perifocal swelling (edema) inevitably lead to elevated intracranial pressure(intracranial hypertension), which translates clinically into headaches, vomiting (sometimes without nausea), altered state ofconsciousness (somnolence, coma), dilatation of the pupil on the side of the lesion (anisocoria), papilledema (prominent optic disc at the funduscopic eye examination). However, even small tumors obstructing the passage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may cause early signs of increased intracranial pressure. Increased intracranial pressure may result in herniation (i.e. displacement) of certain parts of the brain, such as the cerebellar tonsils or the temporal uncus, resulting in lethal brainstem compression. In very young children, elevated intracranial pressure may cause an increase in the diameter of the skull and bulging of the fontanelles.
Dysfunction : depending on the tumor location and the damage it may have caused to surrounding brain structures, either through compression or infiltration, any type of focal neurologic symptoms may occur, such as cognitive and behavioral impairment (including impaired judgment, memory loss, lack of recognition, spatial orientation disorders), personality or emotional changes, hemiparesis,hypoesthesia, aphasia, ataxia, visual field impairment, impaired sense of smell, impaired hearing, facial paralysis, double vision, but more severe symptoms might occur too such as: paralysis on one side of the body hemiplegia or impairment to swallow . These symptoms are not specific for brain tumors — they may be caused by a large variety of neurologic conditions (e.g. stroke, traumatic brain injury). What counts, however, is the location of the lesion and the functional systems (e.g. motor, sensory, visual, etc.) it affects. A bilateral temporal visual field defect (bitemporal hemianopia—due to compression of the optic chiasm), often associated with endocrine disfunction—either hypopituitarism or hyperproduction of pituitary hormones and hyperprolactinemia is suggestive of a pituitary tumor.
Irritation : signs abnormal fatigue, weariness, absences and tremors, but also epileptic seizures.
The above symptoms are true for ALL types of Neoplasm of the brain (i.e. that includes secondary tumors). It is very likely that a person might carry a primary benign neoplasme for several years and have no visible symptoms at all, or suffer no effects. Many present some vague and intermittent symptoms like headaches and occasional vomiting, and weariness which is easily mistaken for gastritis or gastroenteritis. It might seem strange that despite having a mass in his skull exercising pressure on the brain the patient feels no pain, while headaches could cause an excruciating pain. If you ever suffered a concussion due to a fall you might remember that the bump on the outside of your skull was painful but there was no pain inside your head. The brain has no nerve sensors in the meninges (outer surface) to feel and transmit pain to the brain's pain center; it cannot signal pain without a sensory input. That is why secondary symptoms like those described above should alert doctors to the possible diagnosis of a neoplasm of the brain.
If a person suffering from a metastasized cancer is diagnosed it will be likely that a scan of the skull will be made and a secondary tumor discovered.