Brain Tumors 101: Understanding Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment


By : Dr. Nishith Modi 

(Surgical Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre, Vadodara)

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. Having said that, many cancers can be cured if detected early and treated effectively. An intracranial tumour, also known as a brain tumour, is an abnormal mass of tissue in which cells proliferate and reproduce out of control, appearing to be unaffected by the systems that regulate normal cells.

Types of Brain Tumors

While there are more than 150 different brain tumors, the two main brain tumour groups are primary and metastatic. Primary brain tumors originate within the brain, while s metastatic tumors result from the spread of cancer from other parts of the body. Primary brain tumors can be further classified based on the type of cells they originate from, such as gliomas, meningiomas, and pituitary adenomas. Metastatic tumors are considered cancer and malignant. Some of the Metastatic tumors include astrocytoma, ependymomas and more. Each type of brain tumor can have different symptoms and treatment options. 

Symptoms of Brain Tumors

The symptoms of brain tumors can vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. Some common symptoms include headaches, seizures, changes in vision or hearing, difficulty with balance or coordination, and cognitive changes. In some cases, brain tumors may cause no symptoms at all, making regular check-ups and diagnostic tests essential. 

Diagnosis of Brain Tumors

Diagnosis of brain tumors involves a range of tests and procedures, including neurological exams, imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans, and biopsy. These tests can help determine the location, size, and type of tumor present. Accurate diagnosis is critical to developing an effective treatment plan. In fact, as part of the diagnosis, some analysis of your:

  • Balance and coordination
  • Mental status
  • Hearing
  • Reflexes & vision can also be tested

The treatment of brain tumors depends on several factors, including the type, size, location of the tumor, along with the patient’s age and overall health. Treatment options may include radiation, surgery, therapy or chemotherapy. In addition to this, treatments like: 

  • Immunotherapy, biological therapy, uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The treatment mainly involves stimulating one’s immune system to do its job more effectively.
  • Inbrachytherapy, radioactive seeds, capsules, or other implants are surgically implanted inside or close to the malignant tumour.
  • In Targeted therapy, drugs target specific features in cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

A multidisciplinary team of medical professionals can also develop individual treatment plans that provides the best possible outcomes for the patient. In some cases, clinical trials and experimental therapies may also be available.

So if you or a loved one experiences any symptoms, do not worry; seeking medical attention promptly with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan helps.