Brain Tumor Facts

Brain Tumor Facts

The Most Common Causes and Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Brain tumors, which have several different causes, are growths of abnormal cells located in the brain. Brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. The following information discusses the most common causes and symptoms of brain tumors as well as available treatment options.

Common Causes of Brain Tumors

Tumors that originate inside the brain are referred to as primary brain tumors. These tumors usually begin when normal cells mutate inside the DNA. The mutations usually enable the cells to grow and divide at a high rate. These types of tumors are less common than secondary brain tumors. Secondary tumors begin somewhere else in the body and eventually spread to the brain. Breast, kidney, lung, and colon cancer are a few of the different types of cancers that can ultimately spread to the brain. Risk factors for getting a brain tumor include a family history, exposure to radiation, and increased age.

Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Symptoms can vary widely, depending on the location, size, and how quickly the tumor is growing. New types of headaches or more severe headaches can be signs of a tumor. Experiencing double vision, blurred vision, or speech difficulties are signs of a possible brain tumor. Other signs can include unexplained vomiting or nausea, increased confusion, and even personality and behavior changes. Since each of these could likely be the result of something besides a brain tumor it’s important to schedule an appointment with a physician if any of these changes have recently taken place.

Treatment Options

If a brain tumor is located in an area that is accessible, a surgeon may attempt to remove the tumor. Sometimes tumors are large or located in a particularly sensitive area in the brain. In these cases a surgeon may attempt to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Sometimes, however, surgery may not be a viable option. Radiation therapy may also be used to remove a tumor. This therapy, which uses high energy beams, is focused on the external area of the head where the tumor is located. In rare cases radiation is used internally to destroy a tumor. This is called brachytherapy. Radiosurgery, which is using a form of highly focused beams of radiation, is sometimes used as a treatment. Finally, chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy are also choices that can be used to treat brain tumors.

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