Brain tumors are classified as primary (originate in the brain) or secondary brain tumors (originate elsewhere). Primary brain tumors do not spread beyond the brain cavity or spinal canal but do intrude on spaces occupied by healthy tissue. A secondary brain tumor originate in organs other than the brain but later spread and invade the brain. Secondary brain tumor cells have a different origin but get deposited in the brain system through the lymph and circulatory systems.
The most common cancer types that lead to secondary tumors in the brain include lung cancer, breast cancer, malignant melanoma, kidney cancer, and colon cancer.
On the basis of the behavior of morphologically and functionally altered cells, brain tumors can be classified as either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Malignant cells differ from the benign ones in that the normal process of division known as mitosis goes rampant and unchecked in malignant tumor cells. The cells drastically vary, both in shape and size. Such aggressively growing cells push the normal tissue cells aside and invade more space by compressing them. Metastasis (spreading beyond their original location) is the marked feature of malignant tumors.
Brain Tumor Surgery: The Mainstay of Cure
This method of treatment is the first option for malignant or benign brain tumors and has high rates of success. Neurosurgery plays an important role in curbing the growth or ill effects of brain tumors because an accurate diagnosis and proper removal of the mass ensures improved quality of life and a longer life span.
Some of the common surgeries performed for partial removal or complete removal of a brain tumor include: biopsy, craniotomy, endo-nasal endoscopy and neuro-endoscopy.
Craniotomy is further sub-divided into extended bi-frontal craniotomy, supra orbital or eyebrow craniotomy, and keyhole or retro sigmoid craniotomy. Orbitozygomatic and translabyrinthine craniotomy are the remaining techniques and they derive their names from the approach followed during surgery.