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Welcome, eCureMe.com medical contents search April 29, 2013
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Brain Tumor

more about Brain Tumor


Intracranial tumor



  • A brain tumor is a discrete mass within the brain.  The tumor may be malignant or benign.
  • If the tumor is malignant, it has the ability to spread into the surrounding tissue, or can "seed" (i.e., spread) to other body tissues.
  • If the tumor is benign, it can grow in size, pressing on the tissue near it; but it does not actually spread into the surrounding tissue, and it does not seed to other body tissues.
  • Onset is commonly between age 3 and 10 years.
  • 40% of these tumors arise in the cerebellum (posterior, behind the brain stem), which controls coordination.
  • There are three common pediatric brain tumors:
    1. Glioma
    2. Medulloblastoma
    3. Ependymoma

  • Symptoms depend on the particular type of tumor.
  • Symptoms which several different tumors might have in common:
    1. Coordination difficulties
    2. Visual disturbance
    3. Vomiting with great force
  • Frequent severe headaches (due to increased pressure in the brain).
  • Gliomas have a tendency to occur at the base of the brain and along the optic nerve.
    1. At the base of the brain (brainstem), gliomas usually affect cranial nerves 5 through 10, and interfere with coordination.
    2. Regarding optic nerve gliomas, they may cause bulging of the eye, and vision impairment in the affected eye.
  • Medulloblastoma:
    1. There is a shelf of bone separating the hindbrain from the rest of the brain, and this tumor usually arises below this shelf (infratentorial tumor).
    2. Therefore the symptoms principally relate to the cerebellum (coordination difficulties) and brainstem.  Cerebellar damage principally causes impaired coordination, while brainstem damage can impair the control of swallowing, respiration, and control of the heartbeat.
    3. The medulloblastoma usually occurs in early childhood.
  • Ependymoma:
    1. This tumor may occur anywhere in the brain, and therefore might be supratentorial or infratentorial.
    2. Ependymomas might be slowly or rapidly growing.  A wide variety of brain symptoms occur, depending on location.
    3. Besides brain symptoms, neck stiffness and tenderness of the neck can occur if the tumor extends into the neck.

  • Inherited forms (genetic)
  • Some tumors arise in malformations (distortions of the anatomy), such as craniopharyngiomas and teratomas.
  • Radiation

  • History of the symptoms listed above
  • Medical evaluation:
    1. Physical signs of coordination difficulty
    2. Impaired muscle strength
    3. Floppy muscle tone or rigid muscle tone
    4. Loss of sensation
  • Loss of ability to move the eyes in certain directions
  • CAT scan of the brain (X-rays) or MRI brain scan (a scanning with a magnet)

  • Having a previous tumor elsewhere, may be a risk factor.
  • Radiation (X-rays) increases the risk of the tumors known as sarcomas (i.e., tumors usually arising from the connective tissue).

  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Medications to shrink the tumor (chemotherapy)
  • Steroids to reduce brain swelling
  • Radiation (X-ray treatments)

  • Seizures
  • Brain swelling (increased intracranial pressure)
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of sensation on various parts of the body
  • Loss of muscle power
  • Over-secretion or under-secretion of hormones

  • If there are frequent and severe headaches, typically lasting for weeks or months, or any of the other symptoms mentioned, get immediate medical attention and do not delay treatment!




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