A brain tumor, also known as an intracranial solid neoplasm, is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain or central spinal cord. Brain tumors are created by uncontrolled cell division. Most tumors are found in the brain itself; however, some are in the lymphatic tissue, pituitary gland, skull, pineal gland, cranial nerves, blood vessels, and brain meninges (WebMD, 2011). Brain tumors can also spread from cancers in other organs known as metastatic tumors. Every brain tumor is extremely dangerous and possibly life threatening because of the small amount of space within the intracranial cavity.
There are benign tumors, meaning they are not cancerous and there are malignant tumors, meaning they do in fact contain cancer (Charles, 1996). The threat of a tumor all depends on its size, its type, and its state of development. Most tumors are found by a person having unexplained, abnormal symptoms.
In children, most brain tumors are located in the posterior cranial fossa. In adults, most tumors are found in two-thirds of the cerebral hemisphere. Men tend to have more brain tumors than women. The most common age for growing a brain tumor lies between the ages of sixty to sixty four years old(Charles, 1996). It is estimated that a total of thirteen thousand deaths occur per year in America due to brain tumors. Knowledge of signs and symptoms of detecting a brain tumor primarily depend on the tumor size and location (WebMD, 2011).
Benign tumors are slow growing tumors with a late symptom onset. Malignant tumors are fast growing tumors with an early symptom onset. Every brain tumor is different and many people experience different symptoms. It is rare, but some people have lived their whole lives with a brain tumor and they have never known it (Charles, 1996).
Because of the pressure within the intracranial cavity, a brain tumor can cause major headaches, vomiting, an altered state of consciousness, and dilated pupils. Depending on where the brain tumor is located, one can experience a change in their personality, impaired judgment, memory loss, spatial orientation disorders, emotional changes, visual impairment, impaired sense of smell, impaired sense of taste, impaired hearing, double vision, and dizziness. The most common symptom that comes with brain tumors is epileptic seizures (Luc Jasmin, 2011).
The only known causes for brain tumors are exposure to vinyl chloride, ionizing radiation, and long-term heavy usage of cell phones (WebMD, 2011). There are no known environmental factors that cause brain tumors. People who have inherited diseases such as Von Hippel-Lindua syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasia, and neurofibromatosis type 2 have an extremely high risk for developing brain tumors. When one has found that he or she has a brain tumor, they usually find a neurosurgeon for treatment. A neurosurgeon then takes time to study the evolution of the brain’s neoplasm before deciding on which treatment to give his or her patient. There are three main treatments for brain tumors: surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is where a surgeon will remove as many tumor cells as possible.
The problem with brain surgery is it may cause a patient to suffer from epileptic seizures. Radiotherapy is the most common treatment for brain tumors. The radiation is set to selectively kill tumor cells while leaving normal brain tissue unharmed. Depending on its severity, it usually takes an average of thirty treatments to completely cure a tumor. This treatment may not always cure a patient; however, it usually gives a person a longer survival rate and a better outcome. The issue that comes with radiotherapy is the possibility of memory loss.
Chemotherapy is the least popular treatment in helping patients. Chemotherapy is the administration of drugs designed to kill off tumor cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy only improves about twenty percent of patient’s survival rate and has severe side effects(WebMD, 2011). Brain cancer is extremely dangerous. While American cancer survival rates are increasing, the majority of people in other countries have little or no help at all for their illness (Luc Jasmin, 2011). The majority of the world’s cancer survival percentages are rapidly decreasing. There is still very little evidence to prove what really causes brain tumors. Hopefully, there will come a day when a complete cure is created to rid patients of brain tumors and their horrid consequences. Referencesм