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  • Writer's picturePietro D'Urso

Primary Brain Tumours

About 11,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour in the UK each year.

What is a brain tumour? A growth of abnormal and sometimes cancerous cells in the brain. Brain tumours are graded from 1 to 4. One and two are low-grade tumours and three and four are termed high-grade tumours.

Some brain tumours are called benign or non-cancerous. A benign tumour is usually graded 1 or 2.

There are over 130 types of brain tumours and they can all differ from how fast they grow, where in the brain they are located.

Some of the most common brain tumours are:

  • Acoustic neuroma / schwannoma - a benign tumour affecting balance and hearing.

  • Astrocytoma – slow-growing cancer that begins in the nerve cells in the brain or spinal cord

  • Brain metastases – secondary brain cancer where the cancer cells can spread from their original site in the brain. Often, they will spread to the lung, breast, colon or kidneys.

  • Glioblastoma – Aggressive cancer that begins in the astrocytes and can form in the brain or spinal cord.

  • Glioma - the most common type primary of brain tumour.

  • Meningioma - a brain tumour that develops within the meninges of the brain.

  • Pituitary tumours - abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary gland.

  • Haemangioblastoma – a benign tumour that develops in the lining of the blood vessels and grows towards the lower part of the brain like the retina or spinal cord.

  • CNS lymphoma – a cancerous tumour that develops in the lymph tissue of the brain or spinal cord.

Signs and symptoms

These vary a huge amount depending of the type, grade and location of the tumour. Some more common symptoms include:

  • Headaches

  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

  • Mental or behavioural changes such as memory loss and confusion

  • Vision or speech difficulty

  • Progressive weakness and numbness in parts or one side of the body

  • Seizures

Treatment options

Treating brain tumours will depend on a number of things such as where the tumour is located, the type of tumour and how big it is and how far it has spread. Also, your overall health and age will also be taken into consideration.

Following a diagnosis, your consultant will gather with a team of medical experts called an MDT (multi-disciplinary meeting). In this meeting your diagnosis will be discussed and a structured treatment plan with the best possible outcome for your condition will be planned. Your consultant will talk you through all the treatment options. Be sure to ask any questions that you may have as they will be more than happy to answer them for you.

Treatment options may include:

  • Medication to help with symptoms

  • Steroids

  • Surgery such as minimally invasive and awake brain surgery

  • Radiosurgery

  • Gamma Knife

  • Chemotherapy

Some patients may need rehabilitation after treatment may be necessary to help regain lost motor skills and muscle strength as well as speech therapy and occupational therapy. Regular scanning and follow-ups will take place to check whether the brain tumour is growing back.

If you are suffering with any of these symptoms or have been diagnosed with a brain tumour and would like to speak to Mr D'Urso, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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