MedPoise Logo

Benign Brain Tumors - Treatment and Hopes for Healing

Mike West Sept. 20, 2023 #Cancer
benign brain tumors - causes, symptoms and treatment

Understanding Benign Brain Tumors

Benign brain tumors are a non-cancerous growth that develop in the brain. These tumors do not spread and can be treated or removed successfully through surgical procedures in some cases. They are non-cancerous but are dangerous and may cause pain and distress.

Key Points:

  • Benign brain tumors are non-cancerous growths in the brain or surrounding tissues.
  • They can cause distress and impact the quality of life.
  • Symptoms may include headaches, seizures, vision or hearing changes, cognitive impairments, and mood disturbances.
  • Early detection and prompt intervention are vital for improving outcomes and managing the condition effectively.

Different Types of Benign Brain Tumors

There are two main types of brain tumors: malignant tumors and benign (non-cancerous) tumors. Benign brain tumors, as the name suggests, are non-cancerous growths that develop in the brain or surrounding tissues. While they can still cause distress and impact the quality of life, they generally have a slower growth rate compared to malignant tumors.

Common types of benign brain tumors include:

  • Meningiomas: This is the most common type of brain tumor. This is generally benign, but can also be malignant. Meningiomas start in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.
  • Schwannomas: These are brain tumors that start in the nerves in the brain. These tumors are on the main nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
  • Pituitary Tumors: The pituitary gland is at the base of the brain and this tumor begins in and around this gland.
  • Pineal Tumors: The pineal gland is in the center of the brain and this tumor starts in and around this gland.

Causes and Risk Factors

While they may not know the exact cause of most brain tumors, researchers have identified certain factors that may increase the risk of developing these non-cancerous growths in the brain or surrounding tissues.

Key Points:

  • The cause of most brain tumors is unknown, although some may be caused by radiation exposure.
  • Uncommon risk factors include exposure to vinyl chloride, Epstein–Barr virus, ionizing radiation, and inherited syndromes.
  • Certain genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis may increase the risk of developing brain tumors.

It is important to note that while these factors may increase the risk of developing benign brain tumors, they do not guarantee that an individual will develop the condition. Additionally, many individuals with brain tumors do not have any known risk factors.

Further research is needed to fully understand the causes and risk factors associated with benign brain tumors. In the meantime, it is important to focus on early detection and prompt intervention to improve outcomes and effectively manage the condition.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing brain tumors usually involves a combination of medical examinations and imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs. These tests allow doctors to visualize the size, location, and characteristics of the tumor. A biopsy may also be performed to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant.

Once a benign brain tumor is diagnosed, various treatment options can be considered based on factors such as tumor size, location, and symptoms. The main goal of treatment is to remove or control the tumor while managing symptoms to improve the patient's quality of life.

Surgery is often the initial treatment for benign brain tumors. Surgeons aim to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging surrounding brain tissue. In some cases, complete removal may not be feasible, and the surgeon will strive to remove as much as safely achievable to reduce the risk of recurrence.

In cases where complete removal is not possible, or to target any remaining tumor cells, radiation therapy may be used. This treatment involves using high-energy beams to destroy the tumor cells while minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue.

Medications may also be prescribed as part of the treatment plan for benign brain tumors. Anticonvulsant drugs may help manage seizures, which can be a common symptom. Corticosteroids may be used to reduce swelling and inflammation around the tumor, alleviating symptoms like headaches, vision changes, and cognitive impairments.

Individuals diagnosed with a benign brain tumor should work closely with their healthcare team to determine the best treatment approach. Regular follow-up visits and imaging tests are usually scheduled to monitor the tumor's growth and response to treatment.