Primary Brain Tumors

What are Primary Brain Tumors?

primary brain tumors are abnormal masses or growths that originate in the brain. These tumors can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Depending on their location and size, they can cause a variety of symptoms that range from mild to severe. Treatment options vary depending on the type, size, and location of the tumor.

Causes of Primary Brain Tumors

The cause of most primary brain tumors is unknown. In some cases, certain inherited genes or environmental exposures may play a role. Risk factors for primary brain tumors include certain genetic syndromes, being over age 50, a family history of brain tumors, and certain types of radiation exposure.

Types of Primary Brain Tumors

Primary brain tumors are classified according to the type of cells and where they originate. The most common types include:

  • Gliomas – begin in the brain’s supportive or glial cells. Examples include glioblastoma and astrocytoma.
  • Meningiomas – begin in the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. These are usually noncancerous.
  • Ependymomas – begin in the cells that line the brain’s fluid-filled spaces.
  • Craniopharyngiomas – involve tissue in the area near the pituitary gland.

Symptoms of Primary Brain Tumors

The symptoms of a primary brain tumor vary depending on where it is located in the brain. Common symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Balance and Coordination Issues
  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Problems with Memory and Thinking
  • Changes in Vision, Hearing, or Speech
  • Personality Changes or Anxiety

Diagnosis and Treatment for Primary Brain Tumors

The diagnosis of a primary brain tumor begins with a review of symptoms and a physical exam. Depending on the suspected location and type of tumor, imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI scans, and PET scans may be ordered. A biopsy may also be performed to determine the type of tumor and whether it is cancerous. Treatment for primary brain tumors may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy, depending on the type of tumor.