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Brain Tumors: Types, Symptoms and Treatments

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More than 40,000 adults hear the words, “You have a brain tumor” every year. Each has unique needs and goals, requiring a personalized care plan. Depending on the type of brain tumor, their treatment options can vary. Our board eligible neurological surgeon Paul McBride, MD has some helpful tips and advice on brain tumor types, symptoms, and treatments.

Paul McBride - Neuroscience Photoshoot

Types of Brain Tumors

There are more than 100 types of brain tumors, but all of them are formed in the same way — an uncontrolled growth of cells that form a mass in the brain. Your brain tumor type is determined by the kind of cells that make up your tumor.

“Brain tumors can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), the difference being benign tumors tend to grow slowly, while malignant tumors tend to grow rapidly,” Dr. McBride explains.

Types of brain tumors include:

  • Acoustic neuromas are noncancerous tumors on the acoustic nerve connecting your inner ear to your brain. This type of tumor affects balance, hearing and facial muscles.
  • Glioblastomas are the most common type of malignant brain tumor. These invasive tumors grow rapidly and spread from your brain to other areas in your body.
  • Meningiomas are noncancerous, slow-growing tumors that develop on the protective linings of your spinal cord and brain. Large meningiomas may require surgical removal to prevent them from interfering with normal bodily functions.
  • Intraventricular tumors form in your brain’s hollow spaces called ventricles. This type of tumor often obstructs the flow of a protective liquid called cerebrospinal fluid, causing headaches, nausea, visual disturbances and mental health issues.
  • Pituitary tumors tend to be noncancerous and remain contained in the pituitary glands. Still, they can cause significant side effects, including hormonal changes, weight loss or gain, nausea, low blood pressure and hair loss.
  • Skull base tumors are located near your brain stem and the part of your brain that controls movement called the cerebellum. This type of tumor affects the flow of spinal fluid and increases pressure on your brain and spinal cord.
  • Recurrent brain tumors return after treatment, sometimes even after years of remission. The cancer can recur in the same place or elsewhere within your central nervous system.

Brain Tumor Symptoms

“The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor can vary depending on its location and size,” says Dr. McBride. “They typically become noticeable when your tumor presses on a nerve or damages a portion of your brain. You may also experience symptoms if the tumor causes brain swelling or fluid build-up inside your skull.”

Common brain tumor symptoms include:

  • Changes in vision or hearing
  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Headaches
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Weakness or partial paralysis

Brain Tumor Treatments

The most effective brain tumor treatments are highly individualized and developed with your unique needs in mind. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of two or more options.

“Minimally invasive treatment often leads to faster recoveries and better outcomes. And advanced techniques typically result in minimal scarring and less pain than traditional surgery,” Dr. McBride explains.

Minimally invasive treatment options include:

  • Brain port surgery targets tumors located within the fluid-filled spaces of your brain.
  • Endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery reaches the deep structure of your skull base with minimal disturbance to other parts of your brain.
  • Endoscopic microvascular decompression relieves pressure on your cranial nerve.
  • Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ to precisely target and destroy cancerous brain tissue without damaging the surrounding tissue.
  • GammaTile therapy delivers targeted radiotherapy directly to the area in your brain affected by cancer.
  • MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy treats brain tumors that have been unresponsive to other treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation.

Recognized Nationally, Provided Locally

Our neurological specialists, like Dr. Paul McBride, work together to give you advanced, innovative care that provides the best possible outcome after a brain tumor diagnosis. Our nationally recognized team specializes in minimally invasive techniques that offer less pain and faster recovery than traditional approaches so you can get back to feeling like your best self sooner.

For more information, and to request an appointment with Paul McBride, MD visit our website or call Call813-467-4290.

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