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Brain Tumors

​What are the effects of a brain tumor? A brain tumor is a cancerous or noncancerous mass or growth of abnormal cells grown in the brain tissue. A brain tumor can be benign with no cancer cells or it could be malignant, with cancer cells that would grow quickly. There are two main types of tumors, primary and secondary. Primary tumors grow in the brain while secondary grow in other parts of the body and make their way to the brain. A brain tumor can affect a person's speech, memory, and physical movement ("Brain Tumor - MedlinePlus").

​The brain has two main sections the cerebrum and the cortex. The cerebrum is associated with how the brain functions such as the thoughts and movements throughout the body. The cortex is the outer layer of the cerebrum; the cortex plays a big role in the brain's conscious. The cortex itself divides into four sections known as the “lobes”: frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. The frontal lobe is associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving. The parietal lobe is associated with the movement, orientation, recognition, and perception of stimuli. The occipital lobe is associated with the way your eyesight and vision work. And the temporal lobe is associated with the perception and recognition of auditory stimuli, memory, and speech (“Brain Structures and their Functions”).

Cerebellum also known as the “little brain”, is similar to the cerebrum in the case that is divides into two hemispheres and has a highly folded surface or cortex. The cerebellum is associated with regulation and coordination of movement, posture, and balance throughout the body (“Brain Structures and their Functions”). The cerebrum is the most developed part of the brain, it takes up two thirds of the brain structure. It divides into two different hemispheres the right and the left which are connected by the corpus callosum. The two hemispheres control different things; the left side controls language and speech while the right side will control visual and spatial information (“Anatomy of the Bain”).

​The brain and the spinal cord control the nervous system. The nervous system is the thing that controls the things we do like walking, talking, and eating. But the main thing that connects the brain and the spinal cord is the brain stem. The brain stem is right under the cerebrum and in front of the cerebellum. The brain stem and the spinal cord work together to control the body's functions. Another thing the brain stem does is control the body's involuntary muscles; for example the ones that work without the brain having to think about doing it. An example would be when blood needs to continue pumping while exercising and when you digest your food (“Your Brain and Nervous System”).

​A brain has two main hemispheres, the left and right. The left side controls the right side of the bodies movements while the right side controls the left side's movements; but each part work together to control the language used and the way a person speaks. The left side of the brain is known to control speech, grammar and comprehension, while the right side is known for not only comprehending implied meaning but also our understanding and producing verbal metaphors and humor. It also helps us a lot when we change our tone of voice when speaking out loud or even when our emotions changes the tone we use when speaking. But both parts still play a big role in perception of things and movements (“Left Brain, Right Brain: Two Sides Always Working Together”).

​Primary brain tumors develop from within the brain its self. Usually will grow within the central nervous system which controls the bodies overall functions. A primary brain tumor is classified by the cell or tissue it is affecting, location, and grade of the tumor. It can also travel and grow all over the brain tissue and its cells but will never leave the brain itself. While a secondary tumor is a growth that could start anywhere in the body and spread to the brain. Also known as, metastatic brain cancer. This type of brain tumor commonly starts as a cancer in the lungs, kidney, colon, and breast and then will spread to the brain causing a brain tumor (“Brain cancer information”).  

​The most common primary tumor is known as a glioma, which begins in the glial tissues. A Glioma is a common type of brain tumor and accounts for about one third of these cases. This tumor may come from different types of glial cells which include astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells. The glioma tumor is named due to the type of cell it originated from. Tumors that are mixed from different cell types are called mixed gliomas. As like with any other type of cancer, a glioma's cause is still unknown. This type of tumor affects people of all ages, although it is more common in adults than in children. A glioma is also more likely to occur in men than in women (“What are Gliomas”).

​There are over 120 different types of brain tumor. The most common brain tumor to be diagnosed is called a glioma, which originates in the glial tissue. About one third of all primary brain tumors and nervous central system tumors grow from the glial cells. Apart from the cancers in the brain, different types of cancer can grow in other parts of the human body for example the spinal cord, nervous system and peripheral nerves. There's also ways for the tumor to grow and spread; the difference is just pasted upon the genetic history (“Central Nervous System Tumors”).

Cancers that develop in the spinal cord or the surrounding areas of the spinal cord are called spinal cancer. Most of the cancers in the spinal cord are metastatic due to being spread from other parts of the body (“Types of Brain Cancer”). Central nervous system tumors are cancerous and very likely to grow and spread. Like any other tumor there's the ones that are aggressive and less aggressive (“Central Nervous System Tumors”).

​The cause of a brain tumor still to this day is unknown. We know where it can grow, how it spreads and how it's affecting the human body. But we do not know why it grew in that certain region and what could've caused it. The grading of a brain tumor is different from how doctors grade other types of tumors in the body. A brain tumor is graded for how it appears. There are 4 stages to the grading process of the tumor. Grade one is for the slow growing tumor that are most likely to not spread to nearby areas while grade two is also a slow growing tumor but is likely to grow into a nearby area. In grade three the tumor grows quickly, is likely to spread into other areas and also the cells look completely different from normal cells. Grade four is similar to grade three other than the cells looking completely nothing like normal cells and that the tumors grows extremely fast (“Brain Cancer Grading”).

The grading of the tumor will help the doctor determine the treatment options for the patient. Surgery removal is only an option depending on the accessibility of the tumor for example its size, location, the extent of growth and of course the patient's health. Grade one and two are the ones that are most likely to be removed while grade three and four are the difficult ones. Doctors will usually recommend patients to not take the risk of trying to remove large tumors. Sometimes the removal process of large tumors can cause speech, movement, and memory loss depending on location and removal process (“Brain Cancer Grading”).

Treatment options are the first things offered to the patients when a tumor is detected. Depending on the grade and size of the tumor the doctor decides the type of treatment to give the patient. Chemotherapy and radiation usually work on tumors that seem to reappear after performing surgery to remove it. Also chemotherapy or radiation should be given to the patient before a tumor removal to break apart the tumor cells. Some of the chemotherapy types of consumption are: pills, shots given through the veins, and shots that go into the brain or into the spinal canal.

Tumor treatment options have side effects. Some of the side effects include: hair loss, loss of appetite, mouth sores, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, increased chance of infections, easy bruising or bleeding and fatigue. The most extensive side effects cause kidney damage and hearing loss. Some of the most effective drugs against brain tumors tend to have fewer of these side effects than other common chemo drugs. These side effects tend to be short term and go away at the end of the treatment. There's also drugs given to help with the side effects, for example drugs given to help with the nausea and the vomiting and the loss of appetite (“Chemotherapy for Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors”).

Removing a brain tumor is a tricky job. Neurosurgeons spend hours studying a patient's tumor to think of the best treatment plan. If the best way to remove the tumor is by performing surgery the doctor will take neuro exams on the patient and MRI scans to see the exact location. Neuro exams will notify the doctor if the patient can undergo surgery without complications or risks. Also knowing the location of the brain tumor is good when deciding how to remove it. The surgeon has to decide of the best way to approach the tumor without any complications to another area of the brain and causing any problems; for example affecting the patient's speech or memory are the common complications of brain surgery.

Neuro exams are performed to test the patient's motor and reflex responses. But most importantly to tell what area is being affected in the nervous system. These types of exams typically involve physical examinations and medical family history. During an exam the doctor must check the functioning of the nervous system. A neuro exam can be performed if a patient complains of headaches, blurry vision, fatigue, weakness, fever and more. These are some of the most common brain tumor systems. Further tests can be done if the surgeon finds any abnormalities.

Determining the symptoms as well as the grading are tied to the size, location, extent of growth and in this case age and family medical history too. The most common signs of someone having a brain cancer is frequent headaches, weakness, numbness, nausea, vomiting and seizures. There are those that don't feel right with their physical and mental movements, for those individuals their speech and coordination would be affected.  Another way to detect the symptoms is by considering where the brain tumor is located and what functions in that certain area of the brain. An example would be to assume that the brain tumor is in the area of the brain that controls language and motor functions. This will cause the patient to have trouble when talking and feel weakness or numbness throughout their body. (“Brain Cancer Symptoms”).  

Naming the brain tumor a patient has is based upon the area of growth and the type of cell it originated from. To this day there are over 120 different names for a brain tumor. The 10 most common are: glioma, craniopharyngiomas, lymphomas, haemangioblastomas, meningioma, acoustic neuromas, pineal region tumors, germ cell tumors, pituitary tumors, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (“The 10 most common Brain Tumors”). Brain tumors can also be caused by a cancer that's formed in an organ and is likely to spread to the brain. The most common cancers to spread to the brain causing a tumor are: lung, breast, kidney, colon, and melanoma skin cancers (“What are Tumors of the Brain”).

In conclusion a brain tumor is a cancerous or non-cancerous growth of abnormal cells that can originate in the brain or in the body and make its way up to the brain. There are many different types of brain tumors that can be detected in a person. The most common brain tumor is known as a Glioma that grows from the glial tissues. There are primary and secondary tumors. The causes of a brain tumor are still unknown. The brain itself is divided into four sections; frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes.

There isn't a specific thing that causes a brain tumor. The common way to detect a tumor is through an MRI scan where the doctor can see the size and location of the tumor. A brain tumor can affect a person of any age but they are most common in males than females. Grading of a tumor can help out with determining the type of tumor. Removing a brain tumor is a hard task; the tumor has to be detected and a lot of information is needed before proceeding to remove it. A neurosurgeon may proceed to surgery after asking questions on family history and knowing the patient's health. Radiation is most likely prescribed to a patient that goes through surgery removal to prevent the tumors reappearance.

The human brain is the control of everything that goes on in the body. For example: moving, walking, talking, eating, swallowing, taste, smell, and more. A tumor can affect a person by decreasing their life span, losing memory and also movement in a certain body part. This still occurs if the tumor is applying pressure to a certain area in the brain or if it's removed with some brain matter that the patient needed. Sometimes with a secondary tumor; the tumor can easily spread to an organ that the person needs.

Works Cited

“Juliette Siegfried.” Brain Tumor: Causes, Classification & Surgery Procedure, 16 Apr. 2013,

“Brain Tumor | MedlinePlus.” MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You,

University of Pittsburgh University Marketing Communications Webteam. “Types of Brain Tumors.” Types of Brain Tumors | Neurosurgery | University of Pittsburgh,

Robertson, BSc Sally. “What Are Gliomas?”, 19 Nov. 2014,

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