Adult brain tumors are diseases in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow
in the tissues of the brain. The brain controls memory and learning, senses
(hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch), and emotion. It also controls other
parts of the body, including muscles, organs, and blood vessels.
Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors.
Often, tumors found in the brain have started somewhere else in the body and spread (metastasized) to the brain. These are called metastatic brain tumors.
A doctor should be seen if the following symptoms appear:
Tests that examine the brain and spinal cord are used to detect (find) adult brain tumor.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Adult brain tumor is diagnosed and removed in surgery.
If a brain tumor is suspected, a biopsy is done by removing part of the skull and using a needle to remove a sample of the brain tissue. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the doctor will remove as much tumor as safely possible during the same surgery. An MRI may then be done to determine if any cancer cells remain after surgery. Tests are also done to find out the grade of the tumor.
The grade of a tumor refers to how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. The pathologist determines the grade of the tumor using tissue removed for biopsy. The following grading system may be used for adult brain tumors:
The tumor grows slowly, has cells that look similar to normal cells, and rarely spreads into nearby tissues. It may be possible to remove the entire tumor by surgery.
The tumor grows slowly, but may spread into nearby tissue and may become a higher-grade tumor.
The tumor grows quickly, is likely to spread into nearby tissue, and the tumor cells look very different from normal
The tumor grows very aggressively,
has cells that look very different from normal cells, and is difficult to treat successfully.
The chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the type, grade, and location of the tumor and whether cancer cells remain after surgery and/or have spread to other parts of the brain.
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