The exact cause of a brain tumor is unclear for most patients. It forms when a group of cells in the brain display odd growth patterns and eventually develop into an abnormal mass of cells. This irregular growth of cells in the brain hinders the normal role of the central nervous system, making treatment to remove or reduce the tumor necessary.
An effective form of treatment for many brain tumors is neurosurgery. For most patients, this is both the first option and the most common treatment, whether the tumor is malignant or benign.
Malignant vs. Benign
Brain tumors can either be malignant (aggressive) or benign (the least aggressive). A malignant tumor indicates it is cancerous. This type can form in the brain or in other organs and spread to the brain. A malignant tumor tends to grow faster and invade nearby normal cells. On the other hand, a benign brain tumor is non-cancerous. Characterized by a border or edge seen on the CT scan or MRI, a benign tumor typically has slow growth, does not usually invade surrounding tissue or organs, and tends not to grow back once surgically removed.
Before you visit your neurosurgeon, you will have had a CT scan or an MRI, which is used to detect the presence and type of the tumor.
Types of Brain Tumors
Brain tumors have different names depending on where they are located. The following is a list of some of the common types of brain tumors:
- Glioma, or glioblastoma (found in the glial cells in the brain or spine, this is the most common form of a cancerous brain tumor)
- Astrocytoma (star-shaped cells that eventually form a chunk of cells)
- Acoustic neuroma (arises from a cranial nerve near the inner ear canal and brainstem)
- Craniopharyngioma (originates in cells left over from early fetal development)
- Pituitary tumor (named for its location in the pituitary gland—behind the nasal sinuses)
Primary Treatment: Neurosurgery
- First, the goal is to remove any and all abnormal growths, so long as healthy brain tissue isn’t at significant risk.
- Neurosurgery has high rates of success in curbing the growth and ill effects of many brain tumors.
- Lastly, physicians are accurately diagnosing and properly removing the mass to ensure the patients have improved quality of life, including a longer life span.
The type of surgery performed is determined by several factors, including the size, number, location, and growth rate of the brain tumor.
If you’re in need of a neurosurgeon in the Hudson Valley region of New York, speak with the board-certified neurosurgeons at Hudson Valley Brain & Spine Surgery to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.