A brain tumor or brain cancer develops when there are brain nerve cells that become malignant, becoming cancerous.
What does it consist of
When there is a group of abnormal cells in the brain that grow uncontrollably in a mass, a brain tumor is generated. There are benign and malignant brain tumors.
In the case of benign tumors, there are no cancer cells and the growth of the tumor is slow and controlled. On the contrary, in the case of malignant tumors, the cells that form it have been malignified, so they grow uncontrollably and can even invade other tissues (metastasis).
Brain cancer refers to the existence of a malignant tumor in or around the brain. The consequences of this tumor are the destruction of brain mass, either directly or indirectly, by pressing other areas of the brain or causing cerebral edema.
Origin of brain cancer
Primary brain tumors
In these cases, brain cancer has been caused by a tumor that has formed directly in the brain. Brain nerve cells have become malignified, due to the existence of mutations, and have altered their division rate, growing uncontrollably.
There are different types of primary brain cancers, depending on the cells that have been affected:
- Gliomas: derived from glial cells that have become cancerous. They can occur in the brain or spinal cord.
- Meningiomas: in these cases the tumor originates in the meninges, which are the membranes that line the brain.
- Acoustic neuromas: benign tumors originated in the auditory nerves
- Pituitary adenomas: usually benign tumors that affect the pituitary, a gland located at the base of the brain. They usually affect the hormonal system, controlled by said gland.
- Medulloblastomas: the most frequent type of brain tumor in children. They are usually generated in the posterior basal part of the brain and usually affect the cerebrospinal fluid.
- Germ cell tumors: these types of tumors develop during childhood and affect young and poorly differentiated cells that are beginning their development.
Metastatic brain tumors
Also called secondary brain tumors, in this type of tumors the origin of the cancer is not in the brain, but in another part of the body. Cancer cells that are found elsewhere in the body spread through the bloodstream and reach the brain.
This type of brain cancer is the most frequent in adult individuals and can come from any type of cancer, however, the most frequent types from which it comes are:
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Colon cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
In most cases, when the brain tumor is metastatic, you can determine what type of primary cancer comes from. However, in a low percentage of cases there may be a brain tumor whose origin is unknown, they are called cancers of unknown primary origin.
Symptoms of brain cancer
Being a cancer that damages the nerve cells of the brain, the symptoms that will develop are characteristic of a neurological degeneration. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumor and the brain areas it affects. Thus, cancers or local tumors may exist that affect a localized area of the brain. In these cases, the symptoms that usually occur are:
- Local paralysis
- Hearing problems
- Aphasias (disorders in language)
- Apraxias (movement disorders)
- Agnosias (memory disorders)
They can also cause brain damage due to problems of correct secretion of cerebrospinal fluid or alterations in the cerebral circulatory system. In this type of cases the symptoms that usually occur are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Generalized seizures
- Accumulation of fluid in the eyes
- Alterations in personality
- Mental disorders