Brain Tumour

Most brain tumours are benign and non-cancerous. Malignant tumours either arise de novo in brain (primary) or spread to brain from elsewhere in people already known to have cancer (secondary).

Tumours more commonly present with seizures or epilepsy than with headache which if present tends to be bad on awakening and worsened on coughing, straining and sneezing. Vomiting and unsteadiness are additional features suggesting raised pressure in the head. Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, blindness and deafness may all occur giving helpful clues as to tumour localisation.

Usual investigations include MR imaging, Chest X-Ray & Blood Analysis but CT Scanning may occasionally provide additional information.

Management is helped considerably by tissue diagnosis obtained either at biopsy or at open operation.

'Raised pressure' symptoms are treated with steroids and seizures with a variety of antiepilepsy drugs. Depending on tissue type, the tumour itself is dealt with either by surgery (total removal, "debulking" or 'gamma knife') or by a combination of radiotherapy & chemotherapy.