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Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is the growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Any growth inside such a restricted space can cause problems. Brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. When benign or malignant tumors grow, they can cause the pressure inside your skull to increase. This can cause brain damage which may be life-threatening.

Brain tumors can begin in your brain (primary brain tumors) or they can begin elsewhere in your body and spread to your brain as secondary (metastatic) brain tumors. The growth rate of a brain tumor can vary greatly. Your nervous system’s function is affected by a brain tumor’s growth rate and location. Treatment options for brain tumors depend on the type, size, and location of the tumor.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Tumor

Common signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors may include:

  • Speech difficulties
  • Feeling very tired
  • Confusion in everyday matters
  • Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg
  • Difficulty with balance
  • New onset or change in the pattern of headaches
  • Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Inability to follow simple commands
  • Feeling very tired
  • Confusion in everyday matters
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Seizures

Causes of Brain Tumor

Changes in genes may cause cells in the brain to grow uncontrollably which causes a tumor. The only known cause of brain tumors is having exposure to large amounts of radiation from X-rays or previous cancer treatment. Some types of brain tumors occur when hereditary conditions are passed down among family members. 

Risk of Developing a Brain Tumor 

People who have a higher risk of brain tumors include those who have:

  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Long-term exposure to radiation from X-rays or treatment for other cancers
  • A genetic mutation that causes abnormal cell growth 
  • Family history 

Diagnosis of Brain Tumor

Doctors use various types of tests to confirm the presence of brain tumors. These tests may include:

  • Biopsy 
  • Physical exam and medical history 
  • Neurological exam 
  • Imaging tests
  • Spinal tap 

When the brain tumor is cancerous, the doctors will classify the tumors into four grades as part of the diagnosis. The grade assigned indicates how fast it’s growing and its likelihood of spreading. By grading the tumor, your doctor can determine the most effective treatment options. 

Treatment and Medications for Brain Tumor

Brain tumor treatment depends on the location and type of the tumor. Your doctor often uses a combination of therapies to treat a tumor. Your treatment options may include:

  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Surgery 
  • Targeted therapy 
  • Immunotherapy 
  • Laser thermal ablation 

Approved medications for brain tumor:

  • Belzutifan
  • Bevacizumab
  • Everolimus
  • Lomustine
  • Temozolomide

In addition to these medications, you may also use Zofran (Ondansetron). This is an antiemetic used to prevent nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. It blocks the action of serotonin, a natural substance that may cause nausea and vomiting.

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