Brain tumours are a type of cancer that develops in the brain or the tissue around it. They can occur at any age, and their symptoms vary depending on the location and size of the tumour. In the UK, brain tumours account for around 2% of all cancers, with around 16,000 new cases diagnosed each year. In this article, we will explore the types, causes, and treatments of brain tumours in the UK.
Types of Brain Tumours
There are two main types of brain tumours: primary and secondary. Primary brain tumours originate in the brain, while secondary brain tumours (also called metastatic brain tumours) spread to the brain from other parts of the body. Secondary brain tumours are more common than primary brain tumours.
Primary brain tumours are classified according to the type of cell they originate from. The most common types of primary brain tumours are gliomas, which develop from glial cells that support the neurons in the brain. Other types of primary brain tumours include meningiomas, which develop from the meninges (the membranes that cover the brain), and pituitary tumours, which develop in the pituitary gland.
Causes of Brain Tumours
The exact cause of most brain tumours is not known. However, certain factors may increase the risk of developing a brain tumour. These include:
Age: Brain tumours can occur at any age, but they are more common in older adults.
Family history: A small number of brain tumours are hereditary and run in families.
Radiation exposure: People who have received radiation therapy to the head or neck have an increased risk of developing a brain tumour.
Immune system disorders: People with certain immune system disorders, such as HIV/AIDS, have a higher risk of developing a brain tumour.
Symptoms of Brain Tumors
The symptoms of a brain tumour depend on the size, location, and type of tumour. Some common symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting
Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
Changes in vision or hearing
Difficulty speaking or understanding language
Changes in mood or personality
Treatment of Brain Tumors
The treatment of a brain tumour depends on the type, location, and size of the tumour. The main treatments for brain tumours in the UK include:
Surgery: Surgery is often the first treatment for brain tumours. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumour as possible without causing damage to the surrounding brain tissue.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is often used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with radiation therapy for the treatment of brain tumours.
Brain tumours are a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person's life. While the exact causes of brain tumours are not known, certain factors can increase the risk of developing a brain tumour. Early detection and treatment are essential for improving the chances of a successful outcome. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a brain tumour, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
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