A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Brain tumors are usually categorized by the type of cell where the tumor begins or by the area of the brain where they occur.
Signs You Should Get Help for a Brain Tumor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following common brain tumor symptoms:
- Headaches (usually worse in the morning)
- Changes in speech, vision or hearing
- Changes in mood, personality or ability to concentrate
- Problems balancing or walking
- Muscle jerking or twitching
Types of Brain Tumors
- Metastatic brain tumors: The most common type of brain tumors that spread to the brain from other primary cancers like breast cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer or melanoma. About 20 to 40% of people with cancer will develop a metastatic brain cancer tumor.
- Craniopharyngioma: Benign tumors at the base of the brain that are difficult to remove.
- Gliomas: A malignant tumor that starts in the glial cells. The different types of glioma include the following:
- Astrocytoma (Glioblastoma is the most common kind of astrocytoma in adults)
- Brainstem gliomas
- Optic nerve glioma
- Medulloblastoma: A rare, malignant brain tumor that is most common in children and young adults under age 25.
- Meningioma: A common adult brain tumor that is usually benign.
- Pineal region tumors: Tumors near the pineal gland, which helps control sleep and wake cycles.
- Pituitary tumor: Often benign tumors on the pituitary gland which produces hormones that control other glands in the body.
- Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET): Fast-growing, often malignant tumors that can occur anywhere in the brain.
- Schwannoma: Benign tumors that can cause hearing loss, loss of balance or problems with weakness on one side of the face.
Brain Tumor Diagnosis at RUSH
In order to make an accurate diagnosis, we will first conduct a complete medical history and physical exam. We may then order or perform some of the following diagnostic tests:
- Angiogram, an X-ray exam of the blood vessels to diagnose blockages, narrowing or other blood vessel problems.
- Bone scan
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- MR spectroscopy
- Myelogram, an imaging test that detects issues in the spinal canal
- Neurological exam to tests your reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, coordination, alertness.
Treatment for Brain Tumors at RUSH
Brain tumor treatment depends on the type of brain tumor, the stage and your overall health. Some treatment options may include the following
- Brain tumor surgery
- GammaTile therapy
- Laser interstitial therapy (LITT)
- Radiation therapy or radiosurgery