A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of the cells within the brain, which can either be benign or malignant. Benign and malignant brain tumors arise in cells that comprise the central nervous system.
Brain tumors rarely spread to different parts of the body, but can spread throughout the brain. Unless they are completely removed or destroyed, they will continue to grow and spread into nearby areas and destroy normal brain tissue. Both benign and malignant brain tumors can be life-threatening and should be treated. Aside from surgery, other treatment options for brain tumors include radiation and systemic therapy, the latter encompassing chemo, hormonal, immuno-, and targeted therapies.
What are the Symptoms of a Brain Tumor?
Some of the general symptoms of brain tumors are headache, nausea, vomiting, seizures, blurred vision, and change in behavior. These symptoms are non-specific and can be caused by many other diseases and syndromes. Brain tumors often cause problems that affect bodily functions, depending on the portion of the brain where the tumor grows.1 Below are some examples:
- Tumors in part of the cerebrum (the large, outer part of the brain) that controls movement or sensation can cause weakness or numbness on part of the body, often on just one side.
- Tumors in the front part of the cerebrum can affect thinking, personality, and language.
- Tumors in the back part of the cerebrum can cause vision problems.
The symptoms stated above may or may not be caused by a brain tumor. Still, if you experience some of these symptoms that persist or worsen over time, see your doctor to find out the cause.
What Testing Would my Healthcare Provider Order?
GenPath offers the most advanced testing in order to properly diagnose brain cancer and determine the best course of treatment.
- FISH – Fluorescence in situ hybridization detects changes in chromosomes by fluorescence, causing the affected area to glow.
- PCR – Polymerase chain reaction allows a small sample to be identically copied many times, providing GenPath the amount of DNA needed to accurately diagnose your condition in the most efficient manner.
- NGS – Next generation sequencing is a highly specific, cost effective test that requires a small sample. Results can come back to your healthcare provider in as little as five days.
- OnkoSightTM– GenPath’s proprietary NGS platform, examines the most important genes for specific cancers to provide the most accurate diagnosis in the shortest time frame.
- American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/brain-spinal-cord-tumors-adults.html. Accessed April 11, 2019.