Brain Tumors

What is a brain tumor?

When a mass of abnormal and unnecessary cells grows in the brain, it is called a brain tumor. There are two main types of brain tumors: primary (originates in the brain cells) and metastatic (originates elsewhere in the body). Primary tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (less aggressive). Metastatic tumors are malignant (cancerous). 

Types of brain tumors

  • Meningiomas
  • Schwannomas and vestibular schwannomas
  • Pituitary adenomas 
  • Gliomas: glioblastoma, ependymoma, oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, anaplastic astrocytomas 

What causes a brain tumor?

While the causes of a brain tumor or generally unknown, it is speculated to occur when genes on the chromosomes of a cell are damaged or can no longer function properly.

Common symptoms

  • Pressure on brain and surrounding tissues
  • Neural structure irritation 
  • Severe irritation of nerve tissues leading to seizures
  • Loss of function 
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • One side of the body feels weak 
  • Walking is unbalanced 
  • Cognitive or behavioral symptoms 
  • Hearing, vision, or balance problems 
  • Changes in personality or memory 

Treatment Options

  • Biopsy followed by surgical removal
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Investigational therapies

Spinal Tumor

What is a spinal tumor?

Like brain tumors, spinal tumors are found either benign or malignant. Spinal tumors can arise from the spinal vertebrae and are categorized by their location. More often than not, the bones become the location of malignant tumors that arise from other organs.

Types of spinal tumors

  • Extradural tumors are most common and grow outside the dura mater, outermost protective layer of the spine, and are found on bones surrounding the spinal cord.
  • Intradural-extramedullary tumors are found outside the spinal cord but within the outermost membrane of the spinal cord called the dura mater.
  • Intramedullary Tumors grow inside the spinal cord.

What causes a spinal tumor?

  • Genetically predisposed
  • Neurofibromatosis 2
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Spinal cord lymphoma from weakened immune system from medication or disease

Common symptoms

  • Back pain
  • Cold sensations in hands, legs, and feet
  • Weakened bowel control
  • Loss of sensation, typically in legs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Scoliosis

Treatment Options

  • Steroids
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy