Benign Skull Tumors

Some tumors may be “benign” as far as growth potential is concerned, but may be “malignant” because of its location and because it is difficult to treat. The rapidity of growth is very important, despite treatment. In general, brain tumors do not extend elsewhere in the body, but can continue to develop inside the skull.

When surgically removed, the recurrence rate is 50-70%, and needs another surgery.

Extension or spread of cancer is usually described by staging. Primary brain tumors can extend to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), but relatively rare spread to other body parts. For treatment, brain tumors are classified depending on the type of cells that developed them. There are several types of brain tumors.

Tumors localized in the base skull area represent an important risk especially because the place in which they appeared and the fact that they are very close to other structures. Surgery can be very risky because it is very hard to remove the tumor without affecting other near vital structures of the brain. The most common treatment options used in these cases of cancer are: endoscopy, image-guided surgery and real-time MRI. These are less invasive techniques.

Astrocytomas

Pineal astrocytic tumors: Pineal tumors form in or near the pineal gland. Pineal gland is a tiny organ in the brain that produces the hormone melatonin, a substance that controls the sleep-waking cycle. There are several types of pineal tumors. Pineal astrocytic tumors are astrocytomas that occur in the pineal region and may be of any degree.

Pilocitic astrocytoma (Grade I): Astrocytomas are tumors that form in brain cells called astrocytes. The tumor grows slowly and rarely spreads into nearby tissues.

Diffuse Astrocytoma (grade II): Astrocytomas grow slowly, but they often spread into nearby tissues. Some of them progress to a higher grade. They occur most often in young adults.

Anaplastic astrocytoma (grade III): Anaplastic astrocytomas are also called malignant astrocytomas. They grow rapidly and spread into nearby tissues.

Glioblastoma (grade IV astrocytoma)

Glioblastomas are malignant astrocytomas that grow and spread aggressively. The cells are very different from normal. Glioblastoma is also known as glioblastoma multiforme or grade IV astrocytoma. They occur most often in adults between 45 and 70 years.

Oligodendroglioma

Tumors formed from cells called oligodendrocytes, which support and nourish nerve cells.

Oligodendroglioma (Grade II): tumors that grow slowly and are very similar to normal cells, these tumors occur most frequently in patients aged between 40 and 60 years.

Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma (Grade III): Anaplastic oligodendroglioma cells grow quickly and look very different from normal cells.

Mixed Gliomas

Mixed gliomas are brain tumors that are composed of several cell types. The prognosis is given by the cell type with the highest grade found in the tumor.

Ependymal tumors

Ependymal tumors develop from cells that are present in the spaces around the brain and spinal cord. These spaces contain cerebrospinal fluid, a fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord. Grades of ependymal tumors include the following:

Grade I and Grade II: These ependymomas grow slowly and have cells that look like normal cells; can often be removed completely by surgery.

Anaplastic ependymoma (grade III): develop very quickly.

Metastatic brain tumors

The types of tumors that frequently metastasize to the brain are lung cancer, breast primary tumors unspecified colon cancers and melanoma. About half of metastatic spinal cord tumors are caused by lung cancer.

The prognosis depends on the following factors:

– The patient is aged less than 60 years

– Location of tumors in the brain or spinal cord to be less than 3 months

– Anatomical location of tumors in the brain or spinal cord

– Tumor response to treatment

– The possibility that the primary tumor to continue to grow or metastasize.

Most of brain tumors occur due to the extension of a tumor from another part of the body.

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