What is a Brain Tumour?
The uncontrolled or abnormal growth of cells which leads to a mass, is known as a tumour. When a mass is located in the brain, it is called a brain tumour. However, all tumours are different and there are many factors including their location in the brain, rate of growth and the cells involved, that lead to their catergorization. For example, your doctor may refer to;
- Low-grade Vs. High Grade: Usually, low-grade tumours are slow-growing, while high-grade tumours are fast-growing and aggressive.
- Primary Vs. Secondary: Primary brain tumours originate in the brain. Secondary brain tumours are made up of cells that have spread to the brain from somewhere else in the body. In children, most brain tumours are primary.
- Localised Vs. invasive: A localized tumour is confined to one area and is generally easier to remove,. An invasive tumour has spread to surrounding areas and is more difficult to remove completely.
What causes Brain Tumours?
Although we know that a tumour is caused by normal cells growing abnormally or too quickly, the exact cause of this abnormal growth is still unknown, though research continues on possible genetic and environmental causes. Evidence suggests a higher risk of developing brain tumours for children with certain genetic conditions such as neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
Types of Brain Tumours
Two of the most common forms of brain tumours in children are astrocytomas and ependymomas.
- Astrocytomas originate from brain cells called astrocytes. This type of tumour doesn’t usually spread outside the brain and spinal cord and doesn’t usually affect other organs.
- Ependymomas are tumours that usually begin in the lining of brain ventricles.