According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, BTC stands for Brain Tumor Center. Brain tumor or brain tumor is a cancer of the brain. A distinction can be made between benign and malignant tumor forms. In the case of a brain tumor, the nerve cells and meninges are particularly affected. Children are affected by brain tumors more often than adults.
What is a brain tumor?
Brain tumors or brain tumors can be divided into malignant or benign tumors. This leads to the formation of tumors within the brain (from the nerve cells) or on the meninges. Furthermore, a brain tumor can form metastases, which then develop as secondary tumors in the brain or form tumors via the bloodstream in other organs or body regions.
Benign brain tumors are:
- Tumors of the pituitary gland (pituitary adenomas)
- Low-grade astrocytomas
Malignant brain tumors include:
- Anaplastic astrocytomas
The causes of the development of brain tumors or brain tumors have not yet been fully researched. As with other cancers, however, it is assumed that the triggering carcinogenic substances are involved. Above all, long-term contact with chemical substances such as pesticides are considered to be the main cause. Other causes that have been researched so far are hereditary predispositions. For example, genetic defects in Recklinghausen’s disease can lead to brain tumors.
Causes such as stress, cell phone calls, brain contusions and other head injuries have not yet been proven to cause brain tumors.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A brain tumor often manifests itself in the form of sudden headaches that increase in intensity over days or weeks. This brain tumor headache occurs predominantly at night and early in the morning and improves during the day. Normal painkillers relieve the symptoms only marginally. Nausea and vomiting are also typical symptoms of a brain tumor.
Due to the increase in pressure in the brain, nausea occurs, especially in the morning hours, and only decreases again during the course of the day. Depending on its location in the brain, a brain tumor can cause a range of other symptoms. If symptoms mainly occur on the left side of the body, the tumor may be in the right hemisphere of the brain.
Brain tumor symptoms on the right side indicate a tumor in the left hemisphere. Neurological deficits then occur on the affected side of the body, for example signs of paralysis, numbness and unusual itching on the skin. Difficulty swallowing, speech disorders, hearing loss and dizziness are also possible symptoms. A brain tumor can also cause vision problems.
Usually a certain area in the field of vision fails – those affected only see a black spot. These visual field defects are associated, for example, with double vision and blurred vision. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, hormonal imbalances, memory impairment and personality changes can also occur.
course of the disease
The course of a brain tumor can be complicated because even after successful surgery, the disease can recur. Thus, a brain tumor can be recurrent, ie come back again. Follow-up examinations and constant examinations are therefore inevitable. If a malignant brain tumor is not discovered in time or is not treated, there is an almost 100% probability that the affected person will die.
As after a treated brain operation, serious complications can occur, especially without therapy. These include, above all, the typical symptoms such as reduced mental performance, epileptic seizures and visual disturbances. The long-term prognosis for brain tumors is very different and, above all, individual.
Benign tumors that are not slow-growing are usually easier to remove and do not come back. A favorable prognosis can then be assumed here. In the case of malignant tumors, which may have already formed metastases, the prognosis is rather poor. Often there are further ulcers in the body, which usually end fatally. Nevertheless, there are also cases of spontaneous healing that have not yet been scientifically explainable.
A brain tumor leads to relatively serious symptoms and complications that can extremely restrict and complicate the everyday life and quality of life of the patient. In most cases, the increased pressure in the brain causes severe headaches. These headaches are accompanied by nausea and, in most cases, vomiting. The patient also suffers from visual disturbances and hearing problems.
The thoughts and actions of those affected are also negatively influenced by the brain tumor, resulting in speech disorders and coordination disorders. It is not uncommon for psychological complaints and personality disorders to occur. These negatively affect the social life of the patient. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for paralysis and other sensory disorders to occur. As a rule, it cannot be predicted in which body region these disorders will occur.
Brain tumors are treated either surgically or with the help of radiation. However, the further course depends on whether the tumor has already spread to other areas and how much damage has already been caused by the tumor. Brain tumors may reduce life expectancy.
When should you go to the doctor?
If symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting have persisted for a long time and do not go away on their own, a doctor should be consulted. A brain tumor often manifests itself through psychological changes that cannot be traced back to a specific cause. People who notice these signs in themselves or others should consult a doctor. Medical advice is needed at the latest when memory lapses, speech or vision disorders or paralysis appear.
If neurological deficits occur repeatedly, the emergency doctor must be called. The same applies to cerebral seizures and sudden, stabbing headaches. People who have had cancer in the past should speak to their family doctor immediately if they experience the symptoms mentioned. The same applies to people who have frequent contact with chemical substances or have a hereditary predisposition. Patients with Recklinghausen’s disease are particularly susceptible to brain tumors and should have any unusual signs clarified quickly. In addition to the general practitioner, a neurologist or a specialist in tumor diseases can be consulted. If the symptoms are severe, you should go to the nearest hospital immediately.
Treatment & Therapy
If a brain tumor is suspected, a doctor should be consulted quickly and without fail for further examination. The earlier a tumor or cancer is discovered and treated, the better the chances of recovery.
The therapy of brain tumors today follows two basic directions. On the one hand, an attempt is made to remove the brain tumor and its growths through surgical interventions. The attending physician must consider whether this is technically possible at all, since brain surgery is still one of the most complicated and risky surgical procedures.
On the other hand, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can be used to reduce and kill metastases and tumors. Both methods can also be used in combination, i.e. as a support. In the case of a malignant brain tumor, it is not always possible to completely remove all the ulcers, as vital areas can also be affected. The main goal here is to reduce the tumor mass in order to reduce intracranial pressure.
Outlook & Forecast
A brain tumor is a serious disease that urgently requires appropriate treatment. The prospect and prognosis for a full recovery is highly dependent on when the diagnosis is made. The earlier the brain tumor is diagnosed, the better the chances of a quick and complete recovery. If the affected person seeks medical treatment at an early stage, the tumor can ideally be removed without any problems.
If an operation is carried out too late, it is no longer possible to remove such a tumor smoothly. In the worst case, there is a spread of metastases, so that there is an acute danger to life. The renunciation of medical and drug treatment leads to a significantly more difficult course of the disease. Self-recovery without treatment is not possible, so a brain tumor will be fatal.
An early diagnosis is very important and significant in the case of a brain tumor, as it can positively influence the prospect of a full recovery. Prompt and ongoing treatment is just as important, increasing the chances of a full recovery. Without any treatment, the chances of recovery are very slim.
As with all tumorous diseases, close follow-up care is required after treatment has been completed. The aim of this is to detect any new tumors or metastases at a very early stage. In the case of a brain tumor, follow-up checks are therefore carried out several times a year at intervals of a few months.
If no abnormalities are found, the intervals between the next inspection increase. Whether there are any new growths is usually checked via MRI or CT. Precisely because malignant brain tumors often have a high risk of recurrence despite initially successful treatment, it is important that those affected attend their follow-up appointments regularly.
The prognosis for new tumors is more favorable the earlier they are discovered. New brain tumors do not always immediately lead to symptoms that should warn the patient. Findings that require treatment are often discovered by chance during follow-up care.
However, if unusual pain is noticed outside of the follow-up checks, this is always a reason to see the doctor treating you as soon as possible. He can decide whether the next follow-up appointment should be brought forward in order to be able to rule out the possibility of new tumors forming in a timely manner.
You can do that yourself
Once the diagnosis has been made, more detailed information about the disease, therapy and support options is important. The brain tumor information service publishes information on specialist clinics and experts for interdisciplinary treatments and second opinions. Patients should ask their caregivers for help. Preparing for doctor’s talks and writing down questions help patients in their everyday clinical work.
Powers of attorney and legal support are measures that provide security in the event of an advanced illness. People with brain tumors should use the time when they have few symptoms to clarify what they still want to experience. Now is the time to clarify interpersonal relationships and arrangements in the event of death. Psychotherapeutic or psychosocial support can be helpful. Self-help groups on site and on the Internet offer exchange, eg: selbsthilfegruppe-gehirntumor.de, the Cancer Information Service and the German Brain Tumor Aid.
Self-help options also include exercise and sport, yoga and meditation. A good maxim for a person suffering from a brain tumor can be the balance between the quantity and quality of life.
Some people achieve a focus on their strengths and wholeness, on positive outlooks and goals in the rest of their lives. Life, even with a serious illness, contains not only deep despair, but also highs after successful therapy. Above all, however, it contains many intermediate stages that can be lived.