Brain tumors act differently than those found in other parts of the body. They have little space to grow, which can mean that their growth can put pressure on vital parts of the brain.
A tumor is a mass of abnormal cells. Most normal cells age, get damaged, die and are replaced by new ones. Sometimes this process is abnormal and new cells form when the body does not need them, or old or damaged cells do not die as they should.
Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors and people of all ages can develop them. “There are over 130 different types of primary brain tumors,” states Dr. Mark R. Gilbert, an expert on brain tumors from the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. Cancer that spreads to the brain from another part of the body is called a metastatic brain tumor, they are much more common than the primary ones.
Both types of conditions can cause similar symptoms such as seizures, memory problems, weakness on one side of the body, headaches, nausea and vomiting, changes in the ability to speak, listen or see, balance problems or changes in mood.
If a person has one of these symptoms, they should be seen by a doctor, who will perform a physical exam and will ask about the patient’s personal and family medical history. Tumors can be detected through different imaging methods such as MRIs or CT scans. Treatment varies depending on the type and location of the tumor and can include surgery, radiation or medications that kill cancer cells or block their growth.