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Brain Cancer & Tumors: Types & Information

  • Synopsis: Information on brain tumors and benign and malignant cancers of the human brain including meningiomas.

Definition: Defining the Meaning of Brain Cancer

A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors can be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that grow quickly. Some are primary brain tumors, which start in the brain. Others are metastatic, and they start somewhere else in the body and move to the brain. Causes of brain cancer are difficult to prove; avoiding compounds linked to cancer production is advised. Brain cancer can have a wide variety of symptoms including seizures, sleepiness, confusion, and behavioral changes.

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Today, nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. are living with a brain tumor, and yet, when it comes to pinpointing causes or risk factors, scientists are still searching for answers.

The word, 'Brain Tumor,' describe a number of different forms of tumors which span the range of behaviors of tumors as well; both benign and malignant. There are different ways to classify Brain Tumors too. Perhaps the most common way to classify Brain Tumors is by the cells in which they originate.

Their, 'histology,' or cell type, determines the behavior of the tumor.

It also has a great deal of bearing on the prognosis a patient will find themselves facing. There is no one, single classification by cell type that is universally agreed upon by doctors. One other approach to classification is by the location of the tumor. The location of the tumor determines the kinds of symptoms and any neurological deficits a person may experience, and the safety of its respectability. Both means of classifying a tumor are important.

Recent studies do not show proof there of an association between brain tumors and cell phone use among adults. With worldwide cellphone use increasing, researchers would expect a clear increase in brain tumor incidence over time, and studies show there is none.

Other unproven causes of brain tumors include: power lines, cigarette smoking, most forms of diagnostic ionizing radiation, head trauma, exposure to air pollutants, and alcohol consumption. Despite ruling out these and other environmental and genetic risk factors, researchers still don't know what factors may cause brain tumors.

Different Brain Tumor Types

Acoustic Neurinoma:

An Acoustic Neurinoma is a tumor affecting the eight cranial nerve, located between the pons and the cerebellum. It is possible that this tumor is associated with Neurobibromatosis. This particular form of tumor is a primary intracranial tumor of the myelin forming cells. These cells are called,'Schwann cells,' or, 'Schwannoma.' Therefore, the use of the term,'Acoustice Neuroma,' is actually a misnomer.

Astrocytoma:

An Astrocytoma is a tumor that starts in the astrocyte cells which form part of the human brain's supportive tissues, or,'neuroglial.'

Ependymoma:

An Ependymoma is a tumor that begins in the ependymal cells that are found in and along the ventricles and central canal in the spinal cord.

Glioblastoma Multiforme:

A Glioblastoma Multiforme is a Grade IV Astrocytoma that has the ability to spread throughout the brain. These tumors are marked by the presence of dead tumor cells, or,'necrosis.' About twenty-five percent of every primary brain tumor is a Glioblastoma Multiforme tumor.

Meningioma:

A Meningioma is a form of benign tumor that starts in the meninges, or the membranes which cover the spinal cord and brain. About twenty-percent of all primary brain tumors are Meningiomas. These tumors usually appear in middle-aged women.

Metastatic Tumor:

A Metastatic Tumor is created by cancer cells that metastasize in the brain form somewhere else in the body. This form of tumor can show up anywhere else in the spinal column or in the brain.

Mixed Glioma:

A Mixed Glioma containing neuronal elements, astrocytic elements, and oligodendroglial cells. Neuropathologists are often confused by Mixed Gliomas, who may diagnose them as oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, or may even diagnose them as ganglioglioneurocytomas.

Oligodendroglioma:

Oligodendrogliomas are tumors that start from oligodendrocytes, which are a kind of brain tissue. These tumors many times contain both astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, and are considered to be Mixed Gliomas. They are more common that Oligodendrogliomas, and usually occur most frequently in younger or middle-aged adults.

Pineal Region Tumor:

A Pineal Region Tumor is a form of tumor that starts in the pineal gland. There are several types of tumors that can begin in the pineal gland. These tumors include Mixed tumors, pineoblastomas, Teratomas, Pineocytomas, Geminomas, and Astrocytomas. Less than one percent of primary brain tumors are Pineal tumors. Three to eight percent of childhood brain tumors are Pineal brain tumors.

Brain Tumor Awareness

Red awareness ribbonThe red ribbon denotes brain tumor (Aneurysm) awareness. The month of May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month - An opportunity for everyone to join together as a community and spotlight the tributes and triumphs of all of those impacted by a brain tumor diagnosis and the need for greater understanding of the disease.

Quick Facts: Brain Tumor Symptoms

Brain tumors can cause many symptoms. Some of the most common are:

Statistics: Brain Tumor



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