Whether cancerous or not, brain tumors are a troubling diagnosis that may leave you fearful of what’s to come. Ali Raja, MD, FAANS, FACS, at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who blends exceptional medical expertise with genuine compassion that helps ease your stress about the unfamiliar territory related to brain tumors. Dr. Raja uses the most advanced technologies available to perform the exacting microsurgical procedures required for most brain tumors. Schedule your initial evaluation today by calling the office or taking advantage of the convenient online tool.
There are two general types of brain tumors: primary and secondary. Like other abnormal growths, primary brain tumors form when the DNA of normal cells mutates.
Cells with altered DNA multiply and divide, sometimes much more rapidly than usual, but don’t die as they normally would after a typical life cycle. This causes the cells to form masses, also called tumors.
While researchers know that altered DNA causes primary brain tumors, it isn’t always clear what causes the DNA to mutate. It could be related to inherited mutations or environmental triggers such as radiation exposure.
Primary brain tumors arise in the brain or in the membrane covering the brain (meninges), cranial nerves, pituitary gland, or pineal gland. Primary tumors may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Some brain tumors grow very slowly, while others enlarge rapidly and may cause significant symptoms quickly.
Secondary brain tumors form from tumors elsewhere that spread (metastasize) elsewhere in the body. Secondary brain tumors are always cancerous. Certain types of lung cancer and breast cancer, for instance, often metastasize to the brain.
Symptoms of a brain tumor vary greatly, often depending on the size, location, and type of tumor, and may include:
Notably, many of these symptoms may indicate other medical conditions, and a neurological evaluation is necessary to confirm a brain tumor diagnosis.
Dr. Raja typically begins with a neurological evaluation that includes checking your reflexes, hearing, cognitive function, balance, and coordination. While not definitive, these results often provide insight regarding the possible location of a suspected brain tumor.
Imaging studies such as an MRI or CT scan are often the next step, followed by a tissue sampling (biopsy) of any abnormal mass noted during the study.
It’s usually preferable to remove the tumor surgically whenever possible, regardless of whether it’s benign or malignant. Otherwise, treatments vary greatly and depend on the size, location, and type of tumor.
Dr. Raja works carefully with you and other members of your care team as necessary to ensure you’re receiving the most advanced treatments available and the best possible outcome.
Schedule a visit today for further evaluation and treatment recommendations. Call the office or book your appointment online.