Brain Tumours: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

An unnatural development of cells in the brain or surrounding tissues is called a brain tumour. These enlargements may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).  They can come from various brain cell types, such as nerve cells, glial cells (which shield and support neurons), and the membranes that cover the brain.

Benign brain tumours often grow slowly and do not usually spread to other body parts or reach nearby tissues. On the other hand, malignant brain tumours spread quickly and expand on nearby tissues. Brain tumours can manifest various symptoms depending on their size, position, and growth rate.

Types of Brain Tumours

Here are some of the types of Brain tumours:


The most common type of brain tumour is called glioma. Gliomas may come from glial cells, which provide support and shielding for neurons. These tumours can appear in various brain regions and behave in a variety of ways, from benign to malignant.


Meningioma is a mostly benign tumour that grows slowly and originates from the meninges, a layer of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Even though meningiomas move slowly, their location and ability to compress nearby structures can still be serious health risks.

Pituitary Adenomas

Pituitary adenoma, which occurs in the pituitary gland present at the base of the brain, can cause hormone imbalances and produce a variety of symptoms influenced by the size and location of the tumour within the gland. Although these tumours are usually benign, careful monitoring and management are necessary due to their impact on hormone function.


Medulloblastoma, which mostly affects children, begins in the lower back region of the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls balance and movement. Due to their tendencies for rapid growth and malignant characteristics, medulloblastomas require immediate attention as well as complete treatment strategies.

Acoustic Neuromas

Acoustic neuromas are cellular growths that originate in the vestibulocochlear nerve and result in hearing and balance disorders. Since these tumours are usually benign, they can have symptoms like imbalance and hearing loss, which calls for careful observation and, in certain situations, seeking medical treatment.


Ependymomas can appear at any age and cause symptoms like headaches and neurological impairments. They are caused by ependymal cells that line the brain ventricles and the spinal cord’s central canal. A multidisciplinary approach to treatment and continual monitoring is required due to the diverse clinical spectrum of ependymomas.

Causes of Brain Tumours

Genetic Factors

In some cases, the development of brain tumours is significantly influenced by genetic predisposition. Brain tumours are more common in people with certain genetic conditions, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis, or tuberous sclerosis. These disorders are caused by inherited mutations that interfere with normal cell division and growth, which can result in tumour development in the brain or central nervous system.

Environmental Factors

The risk of developing brain tumours can also be influenced by subjection to specific environmental factors. Brain tumour development has been associated with an increased risk of ionising radiation, such as that which is used in radiation therapy to treat other cancers or radiation exposure from environmental sources. The risk of brain tumours may also rise in response to exposure to specific chemicals or toxins, such as industrial solvents, pesticides, or electromagnetic fields. However, the exact processes underlying these links are still being investigated.


Brain tumours can hit anyone at any age, but some are more frequently detected in particular age ranges. While secondary brain tumours, which spread from primary brain tumours to other parts of the body, are more commonly found in older adults, primary brain tumours, such as medulloblastomas or ependymomas, are more common in children and young adults. 

Family History

An individual’s susceptibility to brain tumours may be increased by a family history of the condition or by specific genetic disorders linked to an increased risk of brain tumours. Brain tumours can develop in people who have inherited genetic mutations that impact DNA repair mechanisms or tumour suppressor genes. Family members and friends of those who have been diagnosed with brain tumours may be subjected to genetic testing or screening to determine their own risk and to help develop monitoring plans or preventive measures.

Immune System Disorders

The development of brain tumours may be influenced by immune system disorders or conditions that affect immune function. Tumour formation may be facilitated by infections or inflammatory processes that are more likely to occur in people with immunodeficiency disorders, such as HIV/AIDS or primary immunodeficiency diseases. Also, in people with vulnerabilities, abnormal cell growth and tumour growth may be encouraged by long-term inflammation or autoimmune responses within the central nervous system.

Brain Injury

Brain trauma or prior head injuries have been related to an increased risk of brain tumour development, especially in cases of chronic or recurrent head trauma. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may cause inflammatory reactions, alter standard tissue structure, and cause cellular alterations that facilitate the development or spread of tumours. 

Symptoms of Brain Tumours

Now, let’s look at the symptoms of having a brain tumour:


A common symptom of brain tumours is persistent or worsening headaches, which can be caused by irritation of pain-sensitive brain structures or by increased intracranial pressure within the skull. These headaches can range in duration and intensity; they frequently begin as dull, throbbing pain that gets worse when you move or become more active. 

Changes in Vision or Hearing

Brain tumours located in the vicinity of the visual or auditory pathways can cause abnormalities in vision or hearing. These abnormalities can appear as visual disturbances like double vision, blurred vision, or deficiencies in the visual field or as auditory abnormalities like hearing loss, tinnitus, or other perceptual disturbances. Depending on the size, location, and closeness of the tumour to important neural structures, these single or dual-sensory changes may vary in intensity. 

Cognitive Changes

Brain tumours often cause disruptions to the neural networks involved in higher-order cognitive processing, which can lead to cognitive changes in patients. These changes can include changes in memory, attention, language, and executive function. These changes might show up as diminished problem-solving and decision-making skills, memory loss, concentration issues, difficulty comprehending words, or other symptoms. 

Weakness or Numbness

Brain tumours can enlarge or invade motor pathways, resulting in weakness or numbness in the hands and feet, usually affecting one side of the body more than the other (partial paralysis). These motor deficiencies can show up as changes in walking and balance, arm or leg weakness, or trouble with fine motor tasks. 

Nausea and Vomiting

Vomiting and nausea are persistent side effects of brain tumours that are frequently linked to high pressure in the brain or abnormal physiological processes controlling the sensation of nausea and vomiting. Changes in food intake, physical activity, or body position can all increase these symptoms, which can either be continuous or irregular. 

Sleep Disturbances

Brain tumour patients often report sleep disturbances, which include changes in sleep quality and duration. These disturbances may seriously affect daytime functioning and quality of life. These disruptions can take many forms, such as pain, discomfort, adverse drug reactions, or psychological distress. They can also show up as insomnia, hypersomnia, fragmented sleep, or circadian rhythm disorders.

Treatment Options for Brain Tumours

The treatment options for brain tumours are as follows:


The fundamental aspect of brain tumour treatment is surgery, which has the dual goals of maximising tumour surgery and preserving neurological function as much as possible. Advanced methods are used by neurosurgeons to accurately locate and define the boundaries of tumours, enabling a complete and safe excision. Examples of these methods include image-guided navigation and intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring.

Radiation Therapy

With radiation therapy, cancer cells in the brain are chosen for removal and destroyed using high-energy radiation. With external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), targeted radiation beams are delivered to the tumour area while protecting nearby healthy tissues, reducing unintentional damage, and maintaining brain function.


Chemotherapy involves using cytotoxic drugs to stop rapidly dividing cancer cells from growing and expanding. The blood-brain barrier’s impermeability has historically limited the effectiveness of systemic chemotherapy in treating brain tumours. However, new drug delivery strategies, like intrathecal or intra-arterial infusion, are being investigated to improve drug penetration and maximise therapeutic outcomes.


In conclusion, patients with brain tumours and their families face many difficulties because these conditions can cause disruptions to everyday life and create uncertainty about the future. Improvements in diagnosis and treatment, however, provide hope for better results and a higher standard of living. People who are diagnosed with this disease must have a thorough awareness of the causes, symptoms, and available treatments.


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