A brain tumour is the growth of abnormal cells in the brain. When most normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old or damaged cells do not die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumour.
A primary brain tumour has grown within the brain from cells present in the normal brain. They can arise from any cell type but most commonly arise from supporting cells (glial cells) rather than the neurones themselves. These tumours are called gliomas.
A secondary brain tumour (metastasis) is a tumour growing within the brain that has arisen from the spread of a malignant tumour (cancer) elsewhere in the body. These tumours have formed from cells that have broken away from the primary tumour and have spread in the bloodstream to the brain. The common primary source is a lung or breast cancer, but they can arise from bowel, kidney, skin and other cancers.
The pituitary is a gland about the size of a pea and is located towards the base of the brain. It is found behind the nose and the sphenoid sinus (air space behind the face), right below another important and related structure called the hypothalamus.
Skull base tumours are tumours present at the base of the skull. They may be malignant or benign. The treatment involves surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy either alone or in combination. Their location makes it difficult to access them for removal through surgery.
Hydrocephalus occurs when excessive cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain. The name originated from the Greek words ‘hydro’ for water and ‘cephalus’ for head. This is a relatively more common problem in the paediatric age group but adults acquire hydrocephalus as a result of accidents, tumours, bleeding or infection.
A meningioma is a tumour that has grown from the tissues that line the brain, called meninges. The vast majority of meningiomas are entirely benign (WHO grade I) and usually grow as a lump compressing the adjacent brain. Occasionally they may also invade the skull bone and they may compress or wrap themselves around blood vessels or nerves in the head. They produce symptoms like other brain tumours.
Chiari malformation is a condition in which brain tissue extends into your spinal canal. It occurs when part of your skull is abnormally small or misshapen, pressing on your brain and forcing it downward.