In the term brain tumor, most people think of cancer. Fortunately, this is rarely true. Brain tumors can be both benign and malignant. Therefore, the term brain tumor is initially more accurate.
Physicians speak of neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system or intracranial tumors in brain tumors and spinal cord tumors.
In brain tumors, doctors first differentiate between two forms:
The World Health Organization divides brain tumors into four severity levels:
Thanks to modern brain surgery and drug treatment options, most grade 1 to 3 brain tumors can be removed without any consequences. For tumors of the 4th degree, no general statements on the prospects of cure are possible.
Brain tumors are very rare. The frequency is given in the literature with one case per 100,000 inhabitants and year (annual incidence). There is no frequency peak in terms of age or gender.
Depending on their location and size, brain tumors cause a variety of symptoms. In advanced ulcers threaten various disorders of brain function. The range of disorders ranges from simple coordination disorders, paralysis (even breathing) to the loss of sensory perception or speech loss. These neurological deficits are only a few of the possible symptoms. In addition, brain tumors cause epileptic seizures, depression, psychosis, delusions or personality changes.
The symptoms mentioned so far usually do not occur until brain tumors have grown over a long period of time. During this often years of growth, however, they cause little discomfort. But there are some symptoms that can serve as warning signs. These are for example:
The cause of the development of brain tumors is unknown in the vast majority of cases.
The standard procedure for treating brain tumors is brain surgery. In these procedures, the tumor is surgically removed. However, these operations are not always possible. This applies, for example, if the tumor is very close to a vital brain structure such as the respiratory center or if the tumor has ramified widely. In these cases, the chances of recovery are often low.
Alternatives or supplements to surgery are radiation and chemotherapy. These also sometimes serve to remove brain tumors before a planned surgical removal or even to create the leeway for surgery. In addition, there are other drug therapy concepts (for example, the cancer immunotherapy or immunotoxin treatment) in the form of individual therapeutic trials.