A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in our brain that is classified into two different types depending on its growth and the chances that it will not recur if removed:
- Benign: have slow growth and can be cured if completely removed.
- Malignant: they are fast-growing and once removed can reproduce again.
They are also called primary if they affect only the brain area or metastatic if they spread throughout the rest of the body.
What symptoms do brain tumors cause?
- Symptoms of intracranial hypertension.
- Papillary edema and visual disturbances.
- Double vision.
- Pain or loss of strength in an extremity.
- Behavioral disorders.
It is important to never self-diagnose tumors, since the identification of these symptoms could be due to some other disorder or pathology. A specialist should always be consulted so that a brain tumor can be correctly diagnosed.
How is a brain tumor diagnosed?
Imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT scans, should be performed in order to know exactly where the tumor is located, as well as its size. However, it is the biopsy that allows us to know in detail the exact type of tumor.
What treatments are available for brain tumors?
First of all, it is important to know the type of tumor, since the most appropriate treatment will depend on the type of tumor. In the case of brain tumors, the different possible treatments are:
Depending on the size of the tumor, its speed of expansion and the patient’s state of health, one or the other will be used. Chemotherapy is usually the method used in the first instance, provided there is no danger to the patient, as it allows the pressure on the brain to be reduced rapidly.
What are the latest advances in treatment?
In recent years, very advanced techniques have been developed to be able to administer radiation to brain tumors, without deprotecting healthy tissues that could be affected. Some of them are:
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).