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Together with the spinal cord, the brain helps to form the central nervous system, which controls speech, emotion, senses, and basic body functions. When a brain tumor, or growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain forms, it can be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that reproduce quickly. While there are many symptoms associated with a tumor, it’s important to note that a brain tumor can only diagnosed by a physician after testing.
The neurologists and brain tumor experts at CareMount Medical have been extensively trained to detect brain tumors at the earliest possible time.
Depending on the size and location of the tumor, there can be many symptoms associated such as:
If you are experiencing a recurring combination of any of the above symptoms, it’s important to talk to your physician. While these symptoms can be due to brain tumors, it is also possible that there can be no symptoms pre-diagnosis.
While certain symptoms may lead a physician to believe the ailment is a brain tumor, a series of tests and scans are crucial in determining the final diagnosis.
A basic neurological exam will include eye, hearing, reflex, coordination, and “sense” tests, among others, in order to assess someone’s overall state. By testing all of these areas, a doctor can better determine exactly what is causing the symptoms. If the exam leads a doctor to believe a brain tumor may be present, a scan will be ordered.
These scans create images of the brain over x-rays in order to see all tumors, even those that are behind the bones of the skull or spine. MRI and CT scans are the most common, but there are many more that can be offered. If the scans show an abnormality, additional scans may be required, or you will be sent to a specialist.
Tests such as blood work, a lumbar puncture, or endocrine evaluations may be used to aid in the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Depending on the type of test, you may be given an injection to determine the tumor’s location, or you may have to provide a sample of fluid to determine the amount of spreading.
A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon removes a small amount of the tumor tissue to send to a lab for evaluation. In other situations, the surgeon can remove the entire tumor
There are over 120 types of brain tumors, classified by the way they look, the area affected, and the genetic information of the tumor. Some of the most common primary tumors, making up over 60% of all diagnosed, are listed below.
|Meningioma||The most common primary brain tumor, these are found near the top and outer curve of the brain. They arise from meninges, or thin layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.|
|Glioma||This is any tumor that arises from the supportive tissue, called glia, of the brain.|
|Glioblastoma||These tumors can be found anywhere in the brain or spinal cord and typically form in the cells of the supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are usually highly malignant since they reproduce quickly.|
|Pituitary Tumor||Tumors arising from the pituitary gland are typically benign and slow growing. These can be secreting or non-secreting depending on the amount of hormones produced.|
While there is no direct method of prevention for a brain tumor, it is certainly recommended to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle that includes limited alcohol and tobacco usage and increased avoidance of certain foods.
If you are diagnosed with a brain tumor, there are many treatments on the horizon, including:
In addition, your doctor may prescribe further treatments as necessary to relieve pain and tumor symptoms.
To schedule an appointment or obtain a second opinion on your diagnosis, please call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292