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Brain Tumors (Glioblastoma, Astrocytoma, Meningioma)
Brain tumors are classified as primary and secondary depending on their site of origin, the type of tissue involved, and benign or malignant tendencies. Primary tumors begin in the brain, whereas secondary tumors start elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Tumors can directly destroy brain cells or they can indirectly damage cells by compressing other parts of the brain as the tumor grows.
Specific symptoms for brain tumors vary according to the size and location of the tumor, the age and general health of the patient, and related swelling. Headaches, seizures, weakness in one part of the body, and changes in mental functions are common symptoms.
Astrocytoma is the most common type of glioma that develops from a supporting star-shaped cell in the brain. This type of brain tumor is made of astrocytes and is typically very slow growing. The majority of children's brain tumor cases are low-grade astrocytomas. There are several types of astrocytomas:
- Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma
- Anaplastic astrocytoma
- Glioblastoma multiforme
- Increased intracranial pressure (headaches, nausea, vomiting, irritability)
- Speech difficulty
Glioblastoma is the most malignant astrocytoma and spreads quickly to other parts of the brain.
- Mental dysfunction
Meningioma is a benign tumor that develops from the meninges, a thin, protective membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. This type of tumor is typically slow growing and does not spread.
- Personality change