A brain tumour is an abnormal mass of cell growth in the brain. Brain tumours can either be primary, a cancer that begins in the brain, or metastatic, a cancer that has formed somewhere else in the body and has spread to the brain.
Brain tumours can be benign or malignant. A malignant brain tumour is called brain cancer. There are approximately 130 different types of brain tumour, categorised by the type of cell the tumour originated from and its degree of malignancy.
- Brain tumours kill more children than any other disease
- The most common and aggressive type of brain tumour, Glioblastoma multiforme, only has a mean survival time of 15 months despite surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment
- Brain tumours are more prevalent amongst men and boys than women and girls
Signs and Symptoms:
The brain is complex, which means brain tumours can present with a variety of different symptoms depending on what part of the brain is affected. If you suspect you or someone you love might be suffering from a brain tumour, consult your doctor immediately. Some common symptoms include:
- Seizures or fits
- New onset of headaches that begin in the morning and worsen with activity
- Loss of feeling or movement in one or more limbs
- Changes in speech
- Blurred or double vision
- Weakness in one side of the body
- Confusion and dizziness
Causes and Treatment:
It is not known what causes brain tumours, and for the vast majority of patients no external cause can be identified.
For some types of brain tumour, a genetic mutation in the genes that control cell growth may have occurred. This genetic mutation is non-hereditary, meaning it cannot be passed to children.
Treatment depends on what part of the brain is affected by the brain tumour and the type of tumour. The treatment may include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
- Brain Tumour Support NZ - www.braintumoursupport.org.nz
- Cancer Society - cancernz.org.nz
- White Matter Brain Cancer Charity Trust - whitematterbraincancertrust.nz
- Child Cancer Foundation - childcancer.org.nz