Brain Conditions – Brain Tumors
A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of cells located in or near the brain. Brain tumours may be cancerous or noncancerous (benign). Some brain tumours are metastatic cancer, that is, they are secondary to cancer in some other part of the body. Regardless of whether a brain tumor is malignant or benign, all brain tumours are serious medical conditions that require expert medical intervention such as that offered by the Neuro Spinal Hospital.
Not all brain tumours occur in the brain itself. A meningioma is a type of brain tumor which starts in the meninges, which are thin layers of tissue located between the skull and the brain. Meningiomas are often slow-growing tumours and are not usually cancerous. They are typically diagnosed once they have grown large enough to cause neurological symptoms.
Gliomas are brain tumours that develop in the glial cells of the brain. The body’s central nervous system (CNS) consists of neurons (nerve cells) and glial cells. Glial cells have many important functions, including supplying the neurons with nutrients and oxygen and making myelin, the fatty substance that insulates and protects nerve cells. There are two main types of glioma:
An astrocytoma occurs in the astrocytes, a star-shaped type of glial cell. Astrocytomas are graded on a four-point scale, with Grade I tumours these least and Grade IV the most dangerous. Astrocytomas may be cancerous or benign.
An oligodendroglioma occurs in the oligodendral glial cells and often occurs in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain. It is a fairly uncommon type of brain tumour and is typically graded simply “high grade” or “low grade.”
Ependymoma is a tumour originating in the ependymal brain cells. Ependymal cells line the ventricles of the brain. Ependymoma is more common in children and adolescents than adults. It is typically graded on a three-point scale with grade I the least and grade III the most dangerous. Ependymoma may be cancerous or benign.
The brain also contains the pituitary and pineal glands. Tumours may develop associated with these glands. Cranial nerves in the brain may be affected by brain tumours. The most common cranial nerve tumour is the acoustic neuroma, which may be associated with symptoms of ringing in the ears or hearing loss.
A rare form of brain tumour is the chondroma, which originates in bone cartilage. Chondromas are usually benign, but as they grow they may put pressure on certain areas of the brain and be associated with symptoms such as headache or vision problems. Chondromas may develop into chondrosarcomas, although this is rare. A chondrosarcoma is a malignant tumor of the bone cartilage and occurs at the base of the skull.
Central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is a kind of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the brain. It is common in patients with a compromised immune system, such as patients suffering from HIV or AIDS.
Secondary brain tumours are metastatic tumours. Cancer in another part of the body may spread to the brain and create cancerous lesions. Such lesions often occur in the front portion of the brain (cerebrum).
Not all brain tumours are cancerous, but all brain tumours are serious medical conditions that require expert medical intervention. The Neuro Spinal Hospital is dedicated to the rapid, accurate diagnosis of brain tumours and their treatment. Using state-of-the-art technology, most brain tumours can be safely and effectively treated today