Types of Brain Tumors

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Tess Thompson



A brain tumor is more dreaded than any other tumor. This is not only because of the dangers associated with malignancy, but also the following concerns:

  1. Even benign tumors can cause grievous problems with the pressure that they apply to the neighboring parts of the brain.
  2. Brain surgery is a highly specialized and complex field.

Any abnormal growth within the skull is commonly known as a brain tumor. However, there are different classifications, and brain tumors are identified according to their characteristics.

Acoustic Neurinoma is a benign tumor of the sheath that surrounds a nerve. In the brain, it occurs in the 8th cranial nerve between a band of nerve fibers near the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum. It is a slow-growing and benign tumor, which can be removed surgically.

Astrocytoma is a tumor that occurs in the astrocytes, the comparatively large neuroglial cells. These are part of tissue that surrounds and supports neurons in the central nervous system. Astrocytomas are further classified into low, mid and high grade, depending upon their nature - benign or malignant. Many malignant astrocytoma cannot be removed surgically, as they spread to neighboring tissue. They also tend to reoccur.

Brain Stem Glioma is a tumor of the brain that consists of neuroglia that occurs in the center of the brain stem or its branches as well. These are mostly inoperable.

Chordoma is an extradural and benign tumor that occurs at the base of the skull or the start of the spine. It tends to invade the neighboring bone and forms nearly 2% of all central nervous system tumors.

CNS Lymphoma, or Primary Malignant Lymphoma, is common in people with impaired immune systems, but the incidence is on the rise even in people with healthy immunity. Symptoms of CNS Lymphoma include lethargy, confusion, localized muscle weakness, and seizures.

Meningioma is a benign tumor that starts in the membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. It occurs mostly in women and form approximately 20% of all primary brain tumors.

Cysts are small masses that resemble tumors. They are mostly benign. Dermoid cysts occur mostly in the spine, while epidermoid cysts are common in the pituitary and cerebral-pons area of the brain.

Ganglioglioma is a tumor that originates from ganglia (plural of ganglion), an encapsulated neural structure consisting of a collection of cell bodies or neurons.

Glioblastoma Multiforme is most common in middle-aged people. It has an incidence of 30% of all primary brain tumors. It is also the most difficult of all malignant tumors to treat.

The fact that there are more than 100 billion neurons in the brain provides no reason for complacency. The sheer numbers are so large that there is no guarantee that an injury, a medical condition, or any other abnormality will not affect brain health. Unlike most other cells, neurons (brain cells) cannot re-grow after damage (except neurons from the hippocampus).

Maintaining brain health should be a primary concern. This is especially true since a minor problem in any area can significantly affect the functions that the area is responsible for. For example, damage caused to the frontal lobe can adversely affect maintaining mental focus and cognition.

Ensuring the recommended intake of foods, herbs, and vitamins that promote mental focus can go a long way in retaining your abilities of concentration, memory, and cognition.

References:
http://neurosurgery.mgh.harvard.edu/abta/primer.htm#Section6

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