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Brain Tumor

more about Brain Tumor




Normal

Abnormal
  • Brain tumors are either primary (start in the brain itself) or from metastatic disease -- i.e., spread to the brain from a different area of the body.  Fifty percent of primary brain tumors are astrocytomas (made up of cells called astrocytes), while the remainder is comprised of more than ten other types.  Brain tumors may be benign or malignant (cancer).
  • Here to follow is a (partial) list of the main types of possible brain tumors: acoustic neuromas (affect the 8th cranial nerve that deals with hearing), atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors, chondromas, chondrosarcomas, choroid plexus carcinomas and papillomas, chordomas, crainiopharyngiomas, cysts (e.g., arachnoid, colloid, dermoid, Epidermoid Cysts), germ cell tumors, gangliomas, gliomas, ependymomas, and other forms of astrocytomas.

  • Personality changes
    1. Decreased intelligence
    2. Headaches
    3. Nausea
    4. Emotional behavior
    5. Fatigue
    6. Seizures
    7. Many other symptoms develop according to location:
      • Hearing loss and a buzzing in the ear with acoustic neuromas
      • Vomiting, uncoordinated walking, and drowsiness, are all associated with brain stem tumors
      • Problems with fine muscle coordination (walking and speaking)
      • Mental changes, personality changes, memory and judgment difficulties, Seizures, and one sided-paralysis are symptoms with frontal lobe tumors

  • Listed below are some possible risk factors and causes that require further research.
    1. Long standing Seizures
    2. Personality disorders
    3. About 5% of brain tumors are thought to be hereditary (i.e., passed down from parent to child)
    4. Individuals with tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis (type 1 and 2), familial polyposis, and von Hippel-Lindau disease have a higher incidence of brain tumors.
    5. Neurofibromatosis
    6. Genetic mutation or abnormalities -- majority of individuals with glioblastomas may have extra copies of chromosome number 7
    7. Petroleum industry workers
    8. Others such as weapons manufacturers, pharmaceutical workers, farmers (exposed to pesticides), those who work with synthetic rubber, polyvinyl chloride, and nuclear power may also be at risk.
    9. Viruses are a possible cause that is being investigated.
    10. Electromagnetic waves or low frequency microwaves (EMF), cell phones, and power lines are also being studied as possible risk factors.
    11. Some studies have shown that certain vitamins (A, C, E, and Folic Acid) may reduce the risk of developing brain tumors in the children of women who took the vitamins during pregnancy.

  • Examination
    1. Dilated Pupils
    2. Papilledema (swelling of optic nerve)
    3. Deficits depending on area of tumor (e.g., if in motor area of brain)
    4. Paralysis
    5. Posturing (neurological term)
    6. Coma
  • Imaging
    1. CT scan with contrast
    2. MRI scan with gadolinium enhancement
    3. Electroencephalogram (EEG) may be performed to assess brain function and to check for Seizures.

  • Surgical removal of the tumor and/or radiation treatment.  Chemotherapy (e.g., Methotrexate), hormonal therapy (e.g., Tamoxifen or RU-486), biological therapies (angiogenesis-inhibitors, such as Endostatin, which stop new blood vessel formation in the tumor), and gene therapy are some of the treatments being used and researched for treatment of brain tumors.  Ask your doctors about ongoing new research and clinical trials.






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