Brain Tumor - Fairview Health Services
 
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Brain Tumor

The body is constantly growing new cells to replace older ones. A tumor occurs when cells of the body begin to reproduce abnormally. If a tumor is benign (not cancerous), it will remain localized and grow slowly. A malignant (cancerous) tumor will spread to nearby tissues, and through the blood and lymph to other parts of the body (metastasis).

A primary brain tumor is one that first appears in the brain. This may be benign or malignant. A metastatic brain tumor results from a malignant cancer elsewhere in the body that has spread to the brain. A brain tumor, even a benign one, can damage brain cells directly or by compressing nearby areas of brain tissue as the tumor grows.

The cause of primary brain tumors is unknown. Exposure to certain kinds of electromagnetic radiation, head injuries, hormone replacement therapy and other factors may increase risk.

In adults, gliomas and meningiomas are most common. Most gliomas are malignant. Most meningiomas are benign; however, they still may cause severe complications depending on their size and location.

The first tests used to diagnose the type of brain tumor include a CT scan and an MRI scan of the brain. Sometimes a biopsy (sample of tumor tissue) is needed, which involves a surgical procedure.

Prompt treatment gives the best outcome. Surgery is necessary for most primary brain tumors. Some tumors respond to radiation therapy and this may be recommended in addition to, or instead of, surgery. Chemotherapy may also be advised.

A brain tumor may cause a seizure. If this happens, your doctor can give you medicine to prevent another seizure.

Home Care:

  1. You may resume your activities as tolerated. However, if you had a seizure or fainting, you should not drive, take baths alone, or swim until you are cleared by your doctor to do so. Take any seizure medicine as directed to prevent another episode.

  2. If you have headache or nausea, use medicines provided.

Follow Up

with your doctor or as advised by our staff.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • New onset or recurrent seizures

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Reduced alertness or difficulty awakening

  • New changes to vision, speech or hearing

  • Weakness on one side of your body or loss of coordination and balance

 

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