Identifying and Treating the Different Kinds of Brain Tumors

There are certain diagnoses that a person can’t really prepare for. Hearing the words come out of your doctor’s mouth can feel like you’ve just been punched in the gut. Initial feelings of fear and possible hopelessness may take hold. This is normal. But, what you need to know is that a diagnosis is just that. It’s not a confirmation set in stone or a condemnation. Treatment options have never been better for nearly every condition and in the right hands, you may make a full recovery.

These are all things you may experience and need to keep in mind when talking about being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Hearing those words can be a shock. It’s the next steps that are taken that will be critical to your health.

Being diagnosed with a brain tumor can make you feel a lot of things at once. But, what you need to understand is that they are treatable. Even more important to understand is the fact that a brain tumor isn’t automatically a brain cancer diagnosis. What many people lose sight of is that you can develop non-cancerous brain tumors. That’s not to say a benign tumor still isn’t a serious medical condition that will need to be addressed. But, the additional worry of it spreading isn’t there. When dealing with medical issues of the severity of brain tumors, it’s important to have as much information as possible. While only your doctor can provide the guidance you need through this process, some introductory information can be helpful. Here is what you need to know about the various types of brain tumors and how your doctor may choose to treat them.

What causes brain tumors?

It’s not entirely understood why some people develop brain tumors. What you should know is that relatively speaking they aren’t very common. It’s believed about 80,000 diagnoses will be made in the United States this year, with a third of them being malignant. Yes, benign tumors are the most common kind. Brain cancer is, however, the leading cancer-related cause of death in children 0-14 years old. Primary brain tumors are less common in adults and they are usually a secondary condition caused by the spreading of cancer from elsewhere.

While it’s nearly impossible to predict who will develop a brain tumor, there are some known risk factors. Genetic factors, including a family history, can be an indicator. Additionally, smoking and HIV infection increases the chances of developing tumors. Exposure to radiation is another risk factor, along with other environmental hazards.

A brain tumor is an umbrella term for various specific types. Each type brings its own complications or risk factors.

What are the different types?

When dealing with primary brain tumors rather than metastatic, the three main types are gliomas, meningiomas, and pituitary adenomas. Gliomas develop in the supporting tissue of the brain. They make up the vast majority of malignant brain tumors. Meningiomas make up a third of primary brain tumors and they are benign. They develop in the coverings of the brain and spinal cord. Pituitary adenomas develop in the pituitary gland which regulates the body’s hormones. Most of these tumors are benign, though in rare cases they can be malignant. They can cause either the overproduction of certain hormones or limit their production depending on the exact location of the tumor.

Are there symptoms to look for?

Brain tumor symptoms can be tricky because they can be symptoms of other things. Headaches that become progressively worse and more frequent with time is how many people present. However, other symptoms to look out for include seizures, trouble walking, coordination problems, weakness, vision problems, changes in cognitive abilities and mood, speech problems, and vomiting.

Essentially, if you begin to feel neurological related symptoms that you’ve never experienced before, it’s highly recommended you bring them up to your doctor. Even if it’s not a brain tumor, it could be another serious condition.

What is treatment like?

Individual circumstances dictate treatment. If surgery is a possibility, it will be used to try and remove the tumor. Due to the fact you’re dealing with the brain, surgery brings significant risk and it isn’t always a viable option. If that’s the case, radiation and chemotherapy will be used to try and shrink the tumor. Situations change and surgery can eventually become an option. Ultimately, your neurosurgeon will provide the guidance you need.


A brain tumor diagnosis can be a shock. After receiving your diagnosis, your focus will turn to treating it and beating the thing. In order to do that, you need care provided by an experienced neurosurgeon who can provide the expert treatments necessary to shrink or surgically remove the tumor. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. The team at Acadiana Neurosurgery are experts in the field of treating brain tumors of all types. While a brain tumor diagnosis can be scary, there is hope. Start the process of receiving the treatment you need today.

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