The brain is made up of many neurons which along with the spinal cord forms the Central nervous system. The major parts of the brain are subdivided into cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem. These tumors can be non cancerous called benign and cancerous called malignant tumors.

The different types of tumors are

  • Astrocytomas
  • Ependymomas
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Lymphomas
  • Medulloblastomas
  • Meningiomas
  • Oligodendrogliomas
  • Secondary brain tumors from breast, colon ,leukemia, lung, lymphoma, kidney and skin tumors like melanomas

The different tumors can arise in both children and adults. They may be primary brain tumors or secondary, arising from elsewhere in the body called metastasis. The etiology of brain tumors is unknown. Some of the risk factors are genetic syndromes. The other risk factors are

  • Infection – EBV, HIV,
  • Vinyl chloride exposure
  • Genetic syndromes –Gorlin Syndrome, Li Fraumeni, Neurofibromatosis, Tuberous Sclerosis,
  • Turcot syndrome

Symptoms of Brain cancer are

  • Anorexia ( Loss of appetite)
  • Nausea
  • Headache – relieved by vomiting
  • Personality changes ( mood, behavior)
  • Seizures
  • Speech difficulty
  • Vision changes

The treatment of brain tumors can be by one or more of the following

  • Surgery – if in an accessible location, can be completely removed by surgery. If not feasible for complete removal then maximal possible removal can be done. This may improve the clinical symptoms caused by the tumor and its location
  • Chemotherapy – The type of chemotherapy given depends on nature and type of tumor. One of the most commonly used agents is Temozolomide
  • Radiation – With use of high energy rays the tumors can be treated by radiation. The mode of delivery is by use of a source placed away from the patient called as External Beam
  • Radiotherapy. The beam of radiation used can be X- rays or Protons. Proton beam radiation is much more precise and can be useful in treating tumors located in sensitive areas as well as children. When multiple beams of radiation which are targeted on the tumor, it is called as
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery. It maybe delivered by Linear accelerator or by use of a Gamma Knife
  • Targeted therapy – One of the recent advances in treatment of brain tumors is use of targeted therapy. These drugs act on specific locations present on the cancer cells.