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Understanding Brain Tumor (Cancer): Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Expert Recommendations

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

What Is Brain Tumor?

A brain tumor AKA known as an intracranial tumor is a growth of cells in or around the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. There are two main groups of brain tumors – primary and secondary (metastatic). Primary brain tumors originate from the brain tissues (glial tumors/gliomas) or their immediate surroundings (developed on membranes, nerves, blood vessels, and glands). Primary brain tumors are categorized as benign or malignant whereas secondary brain tumors are malignant/cancerous.

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Grades and types of brain tumor

Brain tumors are classified according to their grades (1-4) and characteristics.

First and second-grade lesions belong to the benign group - these are low grade (WHO grade 1 or 2), which means they grow slowly and are less likely to return after treatment.

Third and fourth-grade lesions are considered malignant (cancerous) - these are high grade (WHO grade 3 or 4) and they either start in the brain (primary tumors) or spread into the brain from elsewhere (secondary tumors); they are more likely to grow back after treatment.

Symptoms of Brain Tumor

The symptoms of a brain tumor vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected.

Common symptoms include:

  • headaches

  • seizures

  • drowsiness

  • nausea

  • changes in personality

  • memory problems

  • progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body

  • vision or speech problems

Who is affected

Brain tumors can affect people of all age groups. They tend to be more common in older adults, however, some tumors are more common in children.

Causes and risks

The cause of most brain tumors is unknown, but there are several risk factors that may increase your chances of developing a brain tumor.

The risk of getting a brain tumor increases with age (most brain tumors happen in older adults aged 85 to 89), although some types of brain tumors are more common in children.

Exposure to radiation accounts for a very small number of brain tumors; some types of brain tumors are more common in people who have had radiotherapy, or very rarely, CT scans or X-rays of the head.

Genetic conditions like tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis type 1, neurofibromatosis type 2, and Turner syndrome are known to increase the risk of getting a brain tumor.

Diagnosing Brain Tumor / Brain Cancer

Early and accurate diagnosis of brain tumors is essential for effective treatment. Neurosurgeons and oncologists typically use a combination of methods, including:

  • Neurological exams to assess brain function

  • Brain computerized tomography (CT) imaging (Fig.1) and/or brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (Fig.2) are the usual initial screening methods in diagnosing a brain tumor / brain cancer

  • Biopsy to determine the tumor type and grade

  • Molecular testing to identify specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to the tumor

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MRI and CT Archil Eristavi Neurosurgeon

Treatment of Brain Tumor / Brain Cancer

Treatment depends on the type and location of the tumor as well as on its size and characteristics.

Steroids may be prescribed to help reduce swelling around the tumor.

Anti-epileptic medicines for seizures and painkillers for headaches can be used to help with other symptoms of brain tumors.

Surgery is often used to remove brain tumors. The aim is to remove as much abnormal tissue as safely as possible.

It's not always possible to remove all of a tumor, so further treatment with radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be needed to treat any abnormal cells left behind.

Treatment for benign tumors is often successful and a full recovery is possible. Sometimes there is a chance of recurrence, hence, regular follow-up appointments are needed to monitor this.


For the effective treatment of a brain tumor / brain cancer, it is important to contact a doctor immediately if you develop any of the listed neurological symptoms.

In case of need, contact us:

Tel: +995 599820404


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