Brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain or covering of brain. Like elsewhere in the body, they can be benign or malignant. Brain tumors in common parlance include any tumors in the cranium. With good understanding of the neuroanatomy and with more sophisticated imaging and operating equipments, surgical excision of most brain tumors has very little risk.
The most common primary brain tumors are:
Pituitary adenomas (15%)
Nerve sheath tumors (8%)
Apart from these there could be brain abcess and tuberculomas of the brain that could look like brain tumors. Pre op imaging with CT and MRI gives a fair idea of the tumor. MR spectroscopy also helps us in diagnosing the tumor nature preoperatively.
Signs and Symptoms
Headache along with vomiting, blurring of vision, weakness of the hands and legs, seizures are some of the commonest symptoms patients present with. However, sometimes they also present with behavioral abnormalities.
Surgery is the gold standard modality. Most of the benign tumors can be excised completely. Malignant tumors may be difficult to excise if they are involving vital areas of the brain. The most important goal for any tumor surgery is to remove the tumor causing no or minimal damage to the normal neural structures. After the surgical excision is performed, based on biopsy adjuvant therapies may be required like chemotherapy and radiotherapy for malignant brain cancers.