What are Tumors and How Can They Affect the Brain?

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I would like to start this essay by saying, I have an interest in covering this topic because I know of a couple people that are very close to me that have been affected by this condition. A doctor found a benign, tumor within my friend’s brain at the age of thirteen, but he is now twenty-four years old and as healthy as ever. My father is the other person I know who had a tumor. A team of doctors found his tumor when he was thirty-nine years old; I was only four years old at the time. His was also benign but it was within a different spot of his brain, unfortunately he passed away twelve years after he found out he had it. What are brain tumors? Brain tumors are masses of cells that grow abnormally and uncontrollably within the brain. They can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) (WebMD, www.webmd.com/content/article). Even if the tumor is benign, it is still dangerous because the brain is enclosed in the skull. The skull cannot expand to make room for a growing tumor, so the tumor may press on or damage delicate brain tissue. Symptoms include frequent headaches, loss of appetite, seizures, speech problems, impaired vision, problems of understanding and change in personality. Even if you have all these symptoms, it does not mean you have a tumor. From my searches, I say the only way you know if you have a tumor is going through the tests. To diagnose a brain tumor, a doctor takes a complete medical history and conducts a neurological examination, as well as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of the brain (National Brain Tumor Foundation, www.braintumor.org). Also, other scans can help determine the specific tumor type and characteristics, such as CT (computed tomography) and PET (positron emission tomography). In addition, a biopsy of the tumor tissue is performed to provide a definitive diagnosis. If the tumor is deep inside or in a critical area of the brain, a needle biopsy has to be performed. Then, by examining the biopsy, the doctor can determine the exact type and grade (aggressiveness) of the tumor. After the doctor comes back with the results and you find out what kind of tumor it is, you are placed a couple of options with treating this kind of disease. The American Brain Tumor Association says that surgery is most common treatment (American Brain Tumor Association, www.abta.org). Simply put, the doctor tries to remove... ... middle of paper ... ...n with surroundings (Clinical Features, www.sprojuects.mmi.msgill.ca/braintumor/section1). My father’s tumor was located near that point. Towards the end of his life, he would have hallucinations on daily basis. He would always think that there was a bulldozer running through and tearing our home down. Every once in awhile he would start speaking to someone else that was not in the room and that we did not know of. Sometimes he could not remember my brothers and me. As you have read it can be very hard physically and mentally going through this type of disease. Depending on where the tumor is located at in the brain or on it is how it will affect different actions and emotions a person has. Doing this research paper has taught me many things about what he was going through all those years. Understanding what part of his brain it affected, had me look back and understand why he was thinking a bulldozer was going through the house and understand why he would talk to someone that was not around. Even though there are some missing variables about his treatments, I still believe I have succeeded on what I wanted to do. I have researched and understood how tumors can affect the brain.

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