Brain tumours are abnormal growths in the brain that occur when cells divide uncontrollably.
There are more than 150 types of brain tumours. Some of them are benign (non-cancerous) while others are malignant (cancerous). They can be broadly classified into two main categories:
Cancerous or not, brain tumours can increase intracranial pressure, affect the brain's functions, and cause a myriad of health problems.
Brain tumours may or may not cause symptoms. Some brain tumours grow very slowly and are asymptomatic, while others may not cause symptoms until they grow large enough to interfere with the brain’s normal functions.
As such, symptoms of a brain tumour can vary greatly depending on the type of tumour, its location, size, and how rapidly it grows.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
The exact cause of primary brain tumours remains unknown. Most brain tumours are believed to develop when abnormal cells in the brain grow and multiply uncontrollably, creating a mass or growth.
There are several environmental and genetic factors that may increase your risk of developing brain tumours. These include:
Brain tumours, even when benign, grow in size and increase intracranial pressure within the skull. This not only affects bodily functions controlled by the brain, but may also lead to dangerous complications such as hydrocephalus and brain herniation, which can result in coma and death.
There is no known way to prevent brain tumours, though you can reduce your risk by avoiding environmental factors such as unnecessary radiation exposure.
If you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, genetic testing may be performed to check for inherited conditions that are associated with brain tumours.