World Brain Tumour Day - What is a Tumour?
World Brain Tumour Day

World Brain Tumour Day

Every year 8th of June is celebrated as World Brain Tumor Day.

This initiative was initially taken by German Brain Tumor Association and is now celebrated worldwide to raise awareness and educate people about the brain tumor.

What is a Tumour?

A tumour or neoplasm is a growth of new cells, which proliferate without relation to the needs of the body.

The most important 2 processes which play a part are- Abnormal reproduction & Abnormal differentiation .

Types of Tumour

  1. Benign Tumour
  2. Malignant Tumour

Benign Tumours

  • The cells which constitute this type of tumour should show no tendency to invade the surrounding tissues.
  • The excessive accumulation of cells produces an expanding lesion which causes atrophy of the surrounding tissues which form a capsule around such tumour.
  • Benign tumours proliferates slowly.
  • They are usually smaller in size.
  • Benign tumour never metastasise.
  • It usually produce symptoms due to the swelling & pressure effects on the surrounding structures.

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Malignant Tumours

  • They invade the surrounding areas.
  • Malignant tumour is known for it’s rapid growth, they increase in size very rapidly.
  • They almost always metastasizes either by direct spread or by lymphatics or through blood streams or by transcoelomic implantation.

Difference between Benign & Malignant Tumour

Benign Tumour Malignant Tumour
1. Occurs at any age 1. Usually seen after 40 years
2. Usually small in size 2. Usually large in size
3. Slow growing 3. Rapidly growing
4. Usually not fixed to surroundings 4. Usually fixed to surroundings
5. Metastasis never occurs 5. Metastasis occurs
6. Usually not fatal 6. Causes death if untreated

 Factors which causes Tumour

The cause of cancer is unknown. A few factors are often incriminated to cause cancer.

  1. Cigarette smoking is often held responsible for cancer of Lung.
  2. Hydrocarbons– By far the most important chemical compound responsible to initiate carcinoma is the – “Polycyclic Hydrocarbon”. Another carcinogenic hydrocarbons is the Cholanthrene group.
  3. Sex Hormones– Due to structural resemblance between the carcinogenic hydrocarbons & female sex hormones, there is possibility that these hormones may be carcinogenic. Oestrogen does not act on the skin but it acts on the mammary epithelium. In normal women the output of oestrogen is rhythmical though it is said that when the supply is constant & prolonged, cancer may result.
  4. Radiations– Various forms of radiations may act as carcinogens. The early workers in the X-ray department suffered radiation dermatitis followed by cancer of the skin.
  5. Heredity– Majority of the cancer patients give familial history. A familial tendency is always noticed.
  6. Trauma– When a tumour develops, the patient often recalls having received trauma at that part before.
  7. Diet– Thiamine deficiency may activate the viruses which may be carcinogenic one. It has been noticed that those people with a high incidence of cancer in liver, the diet is very low in vitamins.
  8. Fats cooked at high temperature may have carcinogenic properties.
  9. Geography– Cancer of the Liver is a rare disease in most countries, though it is very common in Java & South Africa. Carcinoma of stomach is so common in Japan, but carcinoma of breast is not so frequent there.

 What is Brain Tumour?

  • A brain tumor is a collection or mass of abnormal cells in brain.
  • Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
  • When benign or malignant tumors grow, they causes pressure inside the skull which can lead to brain damage.
  • Brain tumors are categorized as primary or secondary.
  • A primary brain tumor originates in brain they are mostly benign.
  • A secondary brain tumor, also known as a metastatic brain tumor, occurs when cancer cells spread to brain from another organ, such as your lung or breast.

Types of brain tumor

Primary brain tumors

Primary brain tumors originate in brain. They can develop from your:

  • Brain cells
  • The membranes that surround your brain, which are called meninges
  • Nerve cells
  • Glands
  • Primary tumors can be benign or cancerous. In adults, the most common types of brain tumors are Gliomas & Meningiomas.


Gliomas are subdivided according to the stage of development of glial cells-

  1. Astrocytoma
  2. Oligodendroglioma
  3. Spongioblastoma polare
  4. Medulloblastoma
  5. Glioblastoma multiforme
  6. Ependymoma


These tumours are essentially benign growths originating in the arachnoid villi & many gain attachment to the dura matter. Meningiomas are usually globular, but sometimes they become carpet like which is called as Meningioma plague.

 Clinical features of Brain tumour

STAGE 1- There is always an initial silent period which varies in length according to the rate of growth & position of tumour. Those tumours which are not near any area of the brain to produce symptoms & signs due to pressure will have a longer silent period.

During this period, tumour gradually takes up the subarachnoid space. It then flattenes the ventricle till the brain has no  more room within the skull.

Stage 2- This includes epilepsy & focal syndromes.

Stage 3- This is due to raised intracranial pressure. These symptoms occur earliest in the midline & posterior fossa tumours, early in temporal & parietal lobe tumours & late in frontal lobe tumours.

The symptoms may raise like-

  • Headache
  • Effortless vomiting
  • Deterioration of the level of consciousness
  • Dimness of vision

Stage 4– This is the stage of cone formstion. When intracranial pressure increases to the extent that the medial border of temporal lobe of one hemisphere is forced through tentorial opening, this causes pressure on the mid brain which contains reticular formation which is concerned with consciousness.

The signs of coning are

  • Paroxysmal headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Deterioration of level of consciousness
  • Unilateral pupillary dilatation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Unilateral hemiparesis
  • Decerebrate rigidity


  1. Lumbar puncture
  2. Skiagraphy
  3. Ventriculography
  4. Encephalography
  5. Carotid angiography
  6. Vertebral angiography
  7. Electro-encephalography
  8. Cerebral puncture
  9. Biopsy
  10. Echoencephalography
  11. Scintillation- encephalography
  12. Brain scan
  13. CT Scanning
  14. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)


  • If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor.
  • If a brain tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your care and treatment.
  • This may be called palliative care or supportive care.
  • It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment.
  • Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

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