Brain Tumors: Causes, Symptoms and Types

Being the 10th leading cause of death in America, brain cancer is one of the deadliest medical conditions known to mankind.  According to the American Cancer Society, cancerous brain and CNS tumors are expected to claim the lives of over seventeen thousand American adults this year.

The 5-year survival rate for brain cancer in America is roughly 34% for men and 36% for women. However, survival rates and duration can differentiate widely depending upon the type of brain tumor, and at what stage it’s diagnosed. Over the course of this blog post, we’ll provide a brief overview of brain tumors. We’ll be discussing the different types, symptoms and the causes.

The Different Types of Brain Tumors

The ability to cause symptoms and the growth rate of brain tumors vary from cases to case. While the cells of a benign brain tumor look similar to normal cells and grow slowly, cells of a cancerous tumor grow aggressively and look abnormal when looked at microscopically. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has devised a grading system for the classification of tumors.

Grade I

The tumor is benign. The cells look very similar to regular cells and grow at a very slow rate.

Grade II

The tumor is malignant. The cells look slightly different to normal cells.

Grade III

This malignant tumor consists of cells that look very different to normal cells. These cells are called ‘anaplastic’. They also grow at a faster rate.

Grade IV

A grade IV tumor has highly abnormal looking cells that grow aggressively.

Metastatic Brain Tumors

Also known as secondary brain tumors, these do not originate in the brain itself. Instead, they are carried by the bloodstream from another part of the body.


While thousands of clinical studies have been carried out to determine the underlying causes of brain tumors, science still doesn’t have clear answer. The established risk factors are very few as well.

However, researchers have discovered that brain tumors can be potentially formed by the occurrence of changes in normal brain cells.

The function and growth of normal brain cells is mainly based on the information contained inside their DNA. Some of the genes control when the cells grow, multiply and die. The genes that promote the growth and multiplication of normal cells are known as oncogenes. Tumor suppressor genes, on the other hand, are genes that maintain the right type of cell division and ensure that cells die at the appropriate time.

DNA changes that turn off of tumor suppressor genes and turn on oncogenes can lead to the formation of cancerous brain tumors.

Signs & Symptoms

Brain tumor symptoms can be specific or general. General symptoms are those that are caused by the tumor exerting pressure on the brain or the spinal cord. Specific symptoms, on the other hand, are caused when the function of a particular part of the brain is affected by the tumor.

General symptoms include:

  • Change in vision, sensations, hearing and/or smell
  • Headaches that worsen with activity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems


Specific symptoms include:

  • headache or feeling of pressure near the tumor
  • partial or complete loss of vision
  • difficulty with fine motor skills
  • facial weakness or numbness

When it comes to treating brain tumors, timely diagnosis and treatment are absolutely crucial. If you’re seeking further information on brain and other nervous system cancer, register at Healthguv. One of the largest social media platforms for healthcare, it’s the ultimate online source of credible information on health, fitness and everyday lifestyle. Get in touch with us today to learn more.