Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brain Tumors

So at first a struggled a bit to find a topic to write my blog post about and found myself rereading many of the modules and articles from the class. We briefly talked about cancer and there being a cure, which led me to pick the topic of brain tumors. I specifically picked this topic because I already know a lot about them and have always been interested in learning more and more due to the fact my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor during my high school years.

One may ask: what exactly is a brain tumor and how does it effect a person? According to Science Daily a brain tumor is any intra-cranial mass created by an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells either normally found in the brain. Brain tumors can affect a person in many different ways, depending on where it is located in one's brain. The photo below show the different parts of the brain and what they control for your body.


Brain tumors can either be classified as benign or malignant. Benign means it is non-cancerous whereas malignant means it is cancerous. Luckily in my dad's case, his tumor was benign. His tumor was occipital, meaning it was located in the back of his head, and his more specifically was on the 7th and 8th cranial nerve. Each nerve has its own purpose but I will focus on these two. The 7th nerve affects your facial movement while your 8th nerve affects balance and hearing. He originally noticed something was wrong when he could not hear out of his left ear, got frequent headaches located in a specific spot, had trouble balancing, as well as numbness in his face and tongue.

How did he get this tumor?? We have absolutely no idea and neither does the doctors. Scientists have no idea how tumor come about but people who have cancer elsewhere in the body, inherited diseases, or exposure to certain chemicals are at a higher risk, but my dad had none of these to our knowledge.

    So after we got all of this information, getting rid of this awful tumor comes next. There are several different ways to treat a brain tumor including medication, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, ect. We decided to take the route of surgery. "A neurosurgeon performs a craniotomy to open the skull and remove the tumor. Sometimes only part of the tumor is removed if it is near critical areas of the brain. A partial removal can still relieve symptoms" (Mayfield Clinic). You can see how they do it in the picture to the left. His surgery was very successful, but in the process he completely lost his 8th nerve, meaning he will never be able to hear out of his left ear. Many people have suggested an implant, but in order to do so, you must at least have the nerve there. As for the 7th nerve, it is partially there. He lost a lot of the feeling in the left side of his face as well as the ability to close his eyelid. There are many ways to help with these effect, and he has a gold weight in his eyelid to be able to help him completely close it. If we did nothing about that, we would have risked his eye drying up and even losing it.

I hope everyone enjoyed learning about brain tumors. If you have any questions feel free to comment or ask me personally. As for my dad, he is very healthy and tumor free!




  1. I think that a brain tumor would be really scary. I think it is really neat that today a doctor can go in and operate on the brain with little or no damage. I was wondering, however, how a partial removal could help. I suppose that it would take some pressure off the brain, but the tumor could grow back again. Is this just a temporal solution?

  2. There is no tumor left in my dad, it is just part of the 7th nerve that is there. So that effects his facial movements. Directly after the surgery his body did not know how to respond to this nerve being partially gone so he could barley move the left half at all, but now being many years later, he has learned how to control it much better.

    But due to the fact that it is a benign tumor it is very rare that it will come back at all. Benign means that is also unlikely or rare to spread to other parts of the body.