Neurospine Hospital & Revive Critical Care

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Home / Tumors

What is Tumors

A tumor is a solid mass of tissue that forms when abnormal cells group together. Tumors can affect skin, bones, tissue, organs and glands. Many tumors are not cancer (they’re benign). But they still may need treatment. Cancerous, or malignant, tumors can be life-threatening and require cancer treatment.
Tumors can vary in size from a tiny nodule to a large mass, depending on the type, and they can appear almost anywhere in the body.
Primary brain tumors include tumors that originate from the tissues of the brain or the brain’s immediate surroundings.

Types of Tumors

There are three main types of tumor:

  • Stage I (Benign): These tumors are not cancerous. They do not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body. If a doctor removes them, they do not generally return.
  • Stage II (Premalignant): In these tumors, the cells are not yet cancerous, but they can potentially become malignant.
  • Stage III (Malignant): Malignant tumors are cancerous. The cells can grow and spread to other parts of the body.

It is not always clear how a tumor will act in the future. Some benign tumors can become premalignant and then malignant. For this reason, it is best to monitor any growth.

What are the Symptoms of a Tumor?

Symptoms vary depending on the location of the brain tumor, but the following may accompany different types of brain tumors:

  • Headaches that may be more severe in the morning or awaken the patient at night
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Difficulty thinking, speaking or articulating
  • Personality changes
  • Weakness or paralysis in one part or one side of the body
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Hearing changes
  • Facial numbness or tingling
  • Nausea or vomitingswallowing difficulties

Tumor Treatment

While it is true that radiation and chemotherapy are used more often for malignant, residual or recurrent tumors, decisions as to what treatment to use are made on a case-by-case basis and depend on a number of factors. There are risks and side effects associated with each type of therapy.
It is generally accepted that complete or nearly complete surgical removal of a brain tumor is beneficial for a patient.
Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and abnormal brain cells and to shrink tumors. Radiation therapy may be an option if the tumor cannot be treated effectively through surgery.
Chemotherapy generally is considered to be effective for specific pediatric tumors, lymphomas and some oligodendrogliomas.
Investigational Therapies
Many types of new therapies currently are being studied, especially on tumors for which the prognosis is generally poor through existing conventional therapies.

What are the risk factors for tumors?

Tumors affect people of all ages, including children. Factors that increase the chances of developing a tumor include:

  • Gene mutations (changes), such as mutated BRCA (breast cancer) genes.
  • Inherited conditions, such as Lynch syndrome and neurofibromatosis (NFS).
  • Family history of certain types of cancer like breast cancer or prostate cancer.
  • Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Exposure to toxins like benzene or asbestos.
  • Previous radiation exposure.
  • Viruses like HPV.
  • Having obesity.

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