BRAIN TUMORS

What Is a Brain Tumor?

The medical term “Brain Tumor” refers to the collection of abnormal cells within the brain (Rich et al., 2019). Different types of brain tumors exist in medical terminology. The most common classification of brain tumors includes cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign) brain tumors and further divide into primary and secondary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors usually start within the brain and Secondary or metastatic brain tumors usually begin in other parts of the body and spread to the brain. Any growth inside of the skull can cause severe problems. Brain tumors usually increase the pressure within the skull and cause brain damage that can threaten your life. The growth of brain tumors depends upon several factors. Besides the growth rate, the location of the brain tumor determines the deterioration of function in the nervous system.

A primary brain tumor that originates within the brain usually develops from the brain cells, meninges, nerve cells, or glands (Yu et al., 2021). These tumors can appear as either benign or cancerous. Gliomas refer to a type of primary tumor that develops from the glial cells of the brain. These cells usually support the structure of the central nervous system and supply nutrition to the central nervous system. Some examples of tumors that originate from the glial cells may include astrocytic tumors such as astrocytomas, oligodendroglial tumors, and glioblastomas that develop from the brain tissue. Other primary brain tumors include pituitary tumors, pineal gland tumors, meningiomas, schwannomas, etc. Secondary brain tumors start outside of the brain and then spread into the brain. Examples of such brain cancer include lung cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, kidney cancer, etc. (Logeswari & Karnan, 2010)

What Are the Common Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Tumor?

The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor usually depend upon the size, location, growth rate, and type of tumor. General signs and symptoms of brain tumors usually include headaches, location-specific problems, and behavioral changes. Other symptoms may include the following (Mondia, Espiritu, & Jamora, 2020):

  •     Gradual loss of sensation or movement of the limb
  •     Difficulty speaking
  •     Incoordination
  •     Changes in personality
  •     Problems seeing clearly
  •     Hearing problems
  •     Seizures
  •     Fatigue
  •     Difficulties balancing
  •     Nausea or vomiting

A larger tumor in the frontal lobe of the brain usually changes the ability to think. Additionally, a small tumor in the Wernicke’s area causes significant loss of function. Personality changes usually happen when a tumor damages the lobe of the brain. 

Risk factors for developing a brain tumor include genetics, old age, race, exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, radiation exposure, etc. Several hereditary conditions like Von Hippel–Lindau disease, tuberous sclerosis, multiple endocrine neoplasias, etc. increases the risk of having a brain tumor.

How Do Spinal Specialists Diagnose a Brain Tumor?

The initial diagnosis of a brain tumor depends upon a full physical examination and taking a brief medical history of the patient. The physical examination comprises a very detailed neurological examination where neurosurgeons usually perform tests to test the function of the cranial nerve. These nerves usually originate from the brain. Neurosurgeons will look into the eyes using an ophthalmoscope to test the pupils reaction time in front of a bright light. The spinal specialist will also evaluate the patients muscle strength, coordination, memory, and ability to do mathematical functions. Neurosurgeons may also perform the following tests to confirm the diagnosis (Series & Science, 2021):

  •     CT scan: This helps to get a detailed image of the structures of the head and neurosurgeons can easily detect abnormalities by using this imaging test.
  •     MRI: This provides a more detailed picture of the brain and helps to detect any tumors inside of the brain.
  •     X-rays: This helps to identify the breaks or fractures in the bones of the skull and helps to detect any brain tumors.
  •     Biopsy: This includes cutting a piece of the tumor for a neuropathologist to determine the exact type of tumor and the best course of action for taking care of it.

How Do Spinal Specialists Treat a Brain Tumor? 

Treatment procedure of a brain tumor depends upon the type, size, and location of the brain tumor. Additionally, the general health of the patient plays a huge role while treating brain tumors. The most common treatment of malignant brain tumors will involve surgery such as a craniotomy. The ultimate goal of treating a brain tumor includes complete removal of the cancerous part without causing any damage to the normal brain cells. Risks of brain tumor surgery include brain infection and excessive bleeding (Yu et al., 2021). 

Treatment of metastatic tumors depends upon the type of tumor. Neurosurgeons usually compare surgical options with other available options, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, when treating patients with a brain tumor. Radiation therapy usually kills the tumor cells without damaging the normal brain cells. Neurosurgeons usually use radiosurgery by using computerized calculations to kill the tumor cells with targeted lasers of radiation. The amount of radiotherapy depends upon the size of the tumor. Chemotherapy involves injecting drugs that usually kill the tumor cells. This improves the survivability of the patients with the most malignant primary brain tumors. For more questions or information, please contact us.

References

Logeswari, T., & Karnan, M. (2010). An improved implementation of brain tumor detection using segmentation based on soft computing. 2(1), 6–14.

Mondia, M. W. L., Espiritu, A. I., & Jamora, R. D. G. (2020). Primary Brain Tumor Research Productivity in Southeast Asia and Its Association With Socioeconomic Determinants and Burden of Disease. Frontiers in Oncology, 10(December), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.607777

Rich, J. N., Robinson, G. W., Rowitch, D. H., Sampson, J. H., Taylor, M. D., Workman, P., & Gilbertson, R. J. (2019). Statement on brain tumours. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, 16(August). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41571-019-0177-5

Series, I. O. P. C., & Science, M. (2021). Image Processing Techniques for Brain Tumor Identification Image Processing Techniques for Brain Tumor Identification. https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/1022/1/012011

Yu, Y., Wu, X., Chen, J., Cheng, G., Zhang, X., Wan, C., … Liu, Y. (2021). Characterizing Brain Tumor Regions Using Texture Analysis in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15(June), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.634926

ABOUT LONGHORN BRAIN & SPINE

Founded on Excellence

Founded by Neurosurgeon, Dr. Grant Booher, Longhorn Brain and Spine focuses on a patient-centered approach to alleviating North Texans from Neurological and Spinal Pain.  Dr. Booher and his clinical team believe in exhausting all non-invasive protocols first and if needed, employing the least invasive procedures necessary to treat the patients.

Our Beliefs

Dr. Booher believes in a conservative, individualized and holistic approach when it comes to his patients. He prefers exhausting all nonsurgical options and proudly offers the least invasive techniques when clinically indicated. He strives to treat every patient like a member of his family. During his free time, he and his wife enjoy watching sports, listening to Texas country music, and traveling.