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Causes and symptoms of a brain tumor

Causes and symptoms of a brain tumor

A brain tumor is a mass formed by cells that have lost control over their reproduction and growth. That is, they grow and multiply uncontrollably in a different way than the rest of the normal cells in the body.

This occurs because a cell suffers mutations that cause it to reproduce much more than normal and not die when it should, accumulating even more mutations that turn it into a malignant cell. Thus, they end up forming a mass of mutated cells.

We can differentiate two classes of tumors. There are benign tumors and malignant tumors. The difference between them lies in the ability to produce metastasis, that is, the possibility of spreading throughout the body. In benign tumors the growth will be local, while in malignant tumors there will be dissemination.

In addition, we are also going to differentiate between primary tumors, which are those that originate directly in the tissue we are talking about, which in this case will be the brain. And secondary tumors, which are those that have originated in another area of ​​the body and have metastasized to the brain.

Types of brain tumors

Within the classifications between malignant and benign, and primary and secondary, there are many different types of tumors that we can find in the brain. The different types will predominate in some people or others depending on their age or sex. Thus, there are tumors that appear mainly in children, while others appear in adults or the elderly.

Of all the types of brain tumors, the most common are secondary ones. Among them, metastases from lung, breast and skin cancer stand out.

Among the primaries there are various types, depending on the cell from which they originate. The most common in adults is meningioma, followed by glioblastoma. Other types of primary brain tumor are, for example, acoustic neuroma, pituitary adenoma, medulloblastoma and craniopharyngioma.

Brain tumor symptoms

The symptoms that a brain tumor produces will depend on its size, location and speed of growth, among other factors. Since the brain is such a crucial area for controlling multiple functions, symptoms can be very diverse. Some of them will be:

  • New frequent headaches.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Loss of sensation or movement of any part of the body.
  • Problems walking or maintaining balance.
  • Partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding others.
  • New onset epilepsy attacks.
  • Changes in personality or behavior.
  • Normally, these symptoms tend to appear gradually over weeks or months, since they will depend on the involvement of a certain area of ​​the brain due to the growth of the tumor.

Causes and diagnosis of brain tumor

Currently, the exact causes of cancer are not known, although we can relate them to some risk factors. We know of some types of cancer that can be hereditary, that is, they are encoded in genes.

However, others occur spontaneously. Some factors that may predispose to the development of cancer are, for example, exposure to radiation or smoking.

For its diagnosis, clinical evaluation by an expert will be necessary. Different tests will also be necessary, both imaging - such as CT - and blood tests, or biopsies of the mass. This will establish exactly what type of tumor it is before starting treatment.

Treatment of brain tumors

It will be the specialist in charge of the case who will decide which is the most appropriate treatment for each one. This can range from chemotherapy or radiotherapy to surgery to remove the tumor. The treatment will depend on the type of tumor, its location, the patient's characteristics and many other factors that will have to be studied together.

Like all types of cancer, it is an issue in which a lot of work is currently being done in the field of research to improve the treatment and survival of those who suffer from it. Even so, the faster a tumor is detected and action begins, the better the expectations will be for the patient.

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