neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system, brain tumors, intracranial tumors
In the term brain tumor, most people think of cancer. Fortunately, this is rarely true. Brain tumors can be both benign and malignant. Therefore, the term brain tumor is initially more accurate. Physicians speak of brain tumors and spinal cord tumors of neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system or intracranial tumors.
In brain tumors, doctors first differentiate between two forms:
- Primary brain tumors are formed from benign or malignant degenerated brain matter or from the meninges.
- Secondary brain tumors are secondary tumors (metastases) caused by other cancers.
The World Health Organization divides brain tumors into four degrees of severity:
- benign, slow growth, very good prognosis
- benign, at risk of degeneration into a malignant tumor
- malignant, developed from the beginning or from a benign tumor
- very vicious, fast tumor growth, poor prognosis
Thanks to modern brain surgery and drug treatment options, most grade 1 to 3 brain tumors can be removed without any consequences. For tumors of the 4th degree, no general statements about the chances of recovery are possible.
Brain tumors are very rare. The frequency is given in the literature with one case per 100,000 inhabitants and year (annual incidence). There is no frequency peak in terms of age or gender.
Depending on their location and size, brain tumors cause a wide variety of symptoms. In advanced ulcers threaten various disorders of brain function. The range of disorders ranges from simple coordination disorders, paralysis (even breathing) to the loss of sensory perception or speech loss. These neurological deficits are only a few of the possible symptoms. In addition, brain tumors cause epileptic seizures, depression, psychosis, delusions or personality changes.
Warning sign for possible brain tumors
The symptoms mentioned so far usually do not appear until brain tumors have grown over a long period of time. During this often years of growth, however, they cause little discomfort. But there are some symptoms that can serve as warning signs. These are for example:
- unusually frequent or newly occurring and increasingly severe headaches (especially at night and in the morning)
- Dizziness or drowsiness (drowsiness, fainting, disorientation)
- morning sickness and vomiting
- neurological deficits such as visual disturbances, speech disorders or word finding disorders
- suddenly increasing forgetfulness and diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Paralysis or numbness feelings
- Personality changes such as easier irritability and reduced frustration tolerance
- epileptic seizures.
The cause of the development of brain tumors is unknown in the vast majority of cases.
The standard procedure for treating brain tumors is brain surgery. In these procedures, the tumor is surgically removed. However, these operations are not always possible. This applies, for example, if the tumor is very close to a vital brain structure such as the respiratory center or if the tumor has ramified widely. In these cases, the chances of recovery are often low.
Alternatives or supplements to surgery are radiation and chemotherapy. These sometimes also serve to remove brain tumors before a planned surgical removal or even to create the scope for an operative intervention. In addition, there are other drug therapy concepts (for example, the cancer immunotherapy or immunotoxin treatment) in the form of individual therapeutic trials.
Prevention of brain tumors is not possible. Healing prospects improve considerably the sooner a brain tumor is detected. Therefore, you should take the warning signs seriously and seek medical attention.