The month of May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. In the U.S., an estimated 25,050 adults will be diagnosed with cancerous brain tumors this year, making brain cancer the 10th leading cause of death for men and women. All brain cancers are tumors; however, not all tumors are cancerous. While treating brain tumors can be challenging, a brain cancer diagnosis is not always fatal.
Benign tumors can be removed completely, while the outcomes for malignant tumors will depend on how cancer develops and responds to treatment. Treatment depends on tumor type, size, location, growth rate, and overall health. Outcomes also depend on whether the tumor has spread within the brain or other areas of the body and how long a patient has had symptoms.
There are over 120 types of brain tumors, and while they can form in any part of the organ, specific tumors are generally detected in the following regions:
Meninges – Meningioma originates in the meninges, the brain’s protective lining that forms the outer three brain layers. As the most common type of primary brain tumor, meningiomas account for about 30% of all brain tumors.
Pituitary gland – Pituitary tumors occur in the pituitary gland, located behind the back of the nose.
Cerebellum – Medulloblastoma tumors occur in the brainstem. It is the most common malignant brain tumor in pediatric cases, commonly affecting kids between the ages of 5 and 9.
Skull base – Skull base tumors occur inside the skull, making them challenging to treat. They can put pressure on critical nerves and blood vessels in the brain and impact the spinal cord, brain, and head.
Symptoms of Brain Cancer
What makes brain tumors life-threatening is that they can spread into other areas of the brain, putting pressure on the healthy parts. The force that the tumor puts on the brain can result in the following physical, emotional, and social effects:
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Problems in balance or clumsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory problems
- Changes in speech
- Vision issues
- Hearing problems
- Changes in behavior
- Memory loss
Brain Cancer Treatment
Surgical approaches remain the most common treatment for brain tumors. Common surgical procedures include laser ablation, laser interstitial thermal therapy, craniotomy, and neuroendoscopy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often used in brain cancer treatment to shrink the tumor, prevent recurrence, or slow its growth.
Tumors progress differently, and people respond to treatment in unique ways. Therefore, your prognosis may change as you undergo treatment. Because treatment and recovery vary by individual, it’s important to consult with a professional regarding your options and latest technology.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about brain cancer, our brain cancer specialists, and brain cancer treatment options. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology has multiple Florida facilities located in the Tampa Bay area in Tampa and Brandon.