Brain Tumours

What is a brain tumour?

  • Brain tumours can be primary or secondary. When a tumour starts in the brain it is known as a primary brain tumour; however, a tumour that has spread to the brain from somewhere else in the body is a secondary brain tumour.
  • Brain tumours can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
  • Benign brain tumours remain in the part of the brain where they started and do not spread into other areas of the brain or other parts of the body. There should not be any further problems if a benign brain tumour can be successfully removed; however, it can be difficult to remove the tumour because of its position within the brain or due to the risk of surrounding brain tissue being damaged by surgery. It is possible for benign tumours to regrow slowly and, if this happens, treatment with radiotherapy or further surgery may be needed.
  • Malignant primary brain tumours spread into the normal brain tissue around them which causes pressure and damage to the surrounding areas of the brain. These tumours seldom spread outside the brain.

Symptoms of brain tumours

  • Symptoms of brain tumours occur because of the space it takes up in the skull. This can put pressure on the brain or disturb the function of the part of the brain it’s growing in.
  • An increase of pressure in the skull is called raised intracranial pressure (ICP); the most common symptoms of raised pressure within the brain are headaches, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting.

As well as the symptoms mentioned above, raised intracranial pressure can also cause changes to sight, such as blurred vision.

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