A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain. Many different types of brain tumors exist and those that are cancerous are referred to as malignant. Brain cancer may either begin in your brain or begin in other parts of your body and spread to your brain. This difference is known as primary vs. secondary (metastatic) brain tumors.
The growth rate of brain cancer varies greatly, and along with its location, the tumor’s growth will determine how it affects the function of your nervous system. To diagnose a brain tumor as cancer, several tests and producers may be performed. A neurological exam may be used to check vision, hearing, balance, coordination and reflexes; or imaging tests such as MRI, CT and PET. A biopsy will be performed in some cases to collect a sample of abnormal tissue for further testing.
Treatment options for brain cancer depend on the type of brain tumor, as well as its size and location. Surgery, radiation, radiosurgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapies may be used, as well as rehabilitation efforts after or along with treatment.
Symptoms may include:
New onset or change in headache patterns; headaches that become more frequent and severe; unexplained nausea or vomiting; vision problems: blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision; difficulty with balance; difficulty with speech; seizures; hearing problems
Most common types of cancer to spread to the brain (secondary or metastatic tumors):
Breast cancer, Colon cancer, Kidney cancer, Lung cancer, Melanoma