A brain tumor manifests as an abnormal growth of cells within the brain. There are various kinds of tumors that are determined by the type of cell, and where they are located. Some tumors may be benign, and others may be malignant. They can be primary, which means it started growing in the brain, or secondary, which means it has spread to the brain from another area.
At Austin Neurosurgeons, it is our goal to provide our patients with superior care and support throughout each phase of treatment. We provide services for evaluating, diagnosing, and treating brain tumors that involve comprehensive treatments with our skilled staff and other experienced providers.
What are Brain Tumors?
Normal cells grow in a controlled manner in which damaged and older cells are replaced by new and healthy ones. Conversely, Tumor cells are produced at a uncontrolled rate and the exact cause is undetermined.
When a brain tumor is benign, it grows slowly, rarely spreads, and has distinct boundaries. The cells are typically not life-threatening. However, these tumors can be problematic when they grow in vital areas of the brain.
Malignant brain tumors grow fast, have boundaries that are irregular, and can spread to other areas. They are often referred to as brain cancer.
Primary Brain Tumor
A primary brain tumor is a growth that begins in the brain, and typically does not spread to other areas of the body. Primary tumors can either be benign or malignant.
Secondary Brain Tumor
Metastatic, or secondary tumors, are cancer cells that can spread throughout the body. They begin as cancer within other parts of the body and spread to the brain.
Tumors compress normal tissue, increase pressure, and can destroy normal tissue. Depending on the size, type, and location of the tumor, symptoms may vary. General signs and symptoms may include:
· Headaches that tend to intensify in the morning
· Loss of balance, dizziness, and trouble walking
· Speech difficulties
· Impaired vision
· Abnormal eye movements
· Weakness on either side of the body
· Increased pressure resulting in drowsiness, headaches, nausea and vomiting
What Causes a Brain Tumor?
Although the exact cause is unknown, individuals most at risk may include:
· Cancer within other areas of the body
· Exposure to pesticides, industrial solvents, and other chemicals over a long period of time.
How a Diagnosis is Made
An in-depth analysis is first performed which includes observing your personal and medical history. A complete physical examination and checking of your general health is also completed. A specialized neurological exam is then performed to check your mental status, memory, cranial nerve function, strength, coordination, reflexes, and reactions to pain. Additional testing may include:
· An endocrine evaluation
· Visual field acuity test
· Spinal tap
· Imaging tests
If a diagnosis is not made clear from testing, a biopsy may be required to accurately determine the type of tumor.
Observation may be the best treatment in cases of benign, slow growing brain tumors. These tumors are typically small and cause minimal symptoms that can be observed with regular MRI scans.
Medications can be used to maintain the common symptoms and side effects of brain tumors.
Surgery is the choice solution for removing brain tumors that can be reached without injury to essential parts of the brain.
Other treatments may include: Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy, Radiation, Tumor-Treating Fields, Targeted Therapy, Clinical Trials, and Chemotherapy.
Although we do not personally provide these treatments, we work hand-in-hand with a network of skilled providers who specialize in these forms of therapy.
At Austin Neurosurgeons located in Austin, TX, our team is determined to provide the best possible treatments and resources to patients seeking treatment for brain tumors. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today and schedule a consultation for improved health and wellness.