Most Common Brain Tumors : There are approximately 23,000 new brain cancer diagnoses each year in the United States. These brain masses developed when abnormal cancer cells accumulate in one area – in this case, the brain. Primary brain tumors originate in the cells and tissues that make up the brain and central nervous system.
Medical science can not pinpoint exactly what causes the development of brain tumors ?. However, they have common factors that make some people more susceptible than others. For example, age puts people between 65 years of age at 4 times higher risk of developing brain tumors. Also patients with existing genetic disorders, such as neurofibromatosis or Li-Fraumeni syndrome and children receiving radiation treatments in the head area are more prone to tumors in adulthood.
Most Common Brain Tumors
In total, there are approximately 100 different types of brain tumors, named for the type of cells that cause them. The most common are the following …
Approximately 30% of all brain tumors are gliomas, which originate in the brain or spine. Gliomas also account for 80% of all malignant brain tumors. This tumor is called glioma because it develops in glial cells – specifically astrocytoma, ependymoma, oligodendroglioma, or a combination of these. As a glioma grows, it can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures and vision problems if it puts pressure on the optic nerve. Treatment and elimination depends on the location of the tumors. For example, depending on how close it is to the patient’s brain, the tumor may only be partially removed to prevent brain damage.
Craniopharyngiomas most often afflict children, adolescents and young adults. These tumors form near the base of the brain, usually above the pituitary gland, causing a domino effect of health problems as they grow-including vision problems or total loss of vision (if they push the optic nerve), increase of weight, delay in physical development and atrophied hormone levels.
Lymphoma tumors can develop in the brain in response to cancer of the lymphatic system due to Hodgkin’s disease that occurs when the white blood cells (or lymphocytes) become cancerous. These types of brain lymphomas can also develop in individuals with low immune systems – as a result of AIDS or after major surgery (ie, organ transplant).
Hemangioblastomas are typically genetic, which means that it is prone in people with a family history of von Hippel Lindau (vHL) syndrome characterized by the development of cysts (or tumors) filled with fluids in different areas of the body. Hemangioblastoma tumors often develop in the brainstem of older adolescents and young adults, but these do not tend to spread. These tumors rarely become cancerous and account for only 2% of brain tumors, which makes them difficult to treat.
Meningiomas account for 25% of brain tumors in adults. They develop in the tissues (membranes) that surround and protect the brain, invade the surrounding brain tissue and occur even after being surgically removed. However, fortunately, most meningiomas are benign or non-cancerous.
6. Acoustic Neurinomas
Acoustic neuromas develop more often in older individuals. And because they affect balance and hearing (both common in aging) they are often not diagnosed for prolonged periods. These slow-growing tumors tend to develop in the nerve that runs from the ears to the brain, which is why hearing and balance are affected. The most telling sign of an acoustic neuroma tumor is the loss of hearing in one ear.
7. Tumors of the Pineal Region
Tumors of the pineal region are rare, being only 1% of all brain tumors. They grow in the pineal gland, located just behind the upper part of the brain stem, restricting the production of the hormone melatonin in the body. Common symptoms of tumors of the pineal region include inflammation and pressure within the skull, problems with coordination and balance, enlargement of the head, headaches, vomiting and vision problems.
8. Tumors of the Germinal Cell
Most germ cell tumors develop outside the brain (in the chest or abdomen), but 2% still represent brain tumors that cling to the pineal area of the brain, blocking fluid circulation. Germ cell tumors grow mostly in patients 10 to 18 years of age. Luckily, because this type of tumor emits certain chemical substances; Doctors can find out the existence of germ cell tumors by a simple blood test.
9. Pituitary Tumors
Pituitary tumors represent 10% of all brain tumors. They develop in the pituitary gland just below the brain and directly behind the eyes. Because the pituitary gland is the master control of the body, which means that it manages the release of the hormone in the bloodstream, sending messages to vital organs such as the thyroid, ovaries and testes, pituitary tumors can cause a series of health problems – from loss of vision to loss or gain of weight and from mood swings to reduction of libido. Fortunately, most pituitary tumors are benign.
10. Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors
Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (or PNETs) grow when an excess of cells develops and accumulates in the uterus, becoming cancerous in childhood and early adulthood. Medulloblastoma, the most common of the PNET, develops in the cerebellum and can spread rapidly to other areas of the brain as well as to the spinal cord. The symptoms of PNETs include vision and balance problems, morning headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, mood swings, and unexplained weight gain or loss.
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