A brain tumour is a growth within the skull due to an abnormal increase of cells. This can occur in the brain or on the surface of the brain.
There are no symptoms that are unique to brain tumours. Symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or weakness of the limbs can be due to pressure effects within the rigid skull cavity. A tumour can also cause seizures due to infiltrative effects into the brain substance. Other symptoms can range from deafness, visual disturbance and problems with sense of smell and balance.
There is no known cause of most brain tumours. There are indications that genetic factors or previous radiation therapy may contribute to the formation of a brain tumour.
The two types of brain tumours are termed benign tumours and malignant tumours. Benign brain tumours are essentially those that do not contain cancerous cells.
Approximately 100 -150 brain tumour cases are operated in Northern Ireland each year. Cancer of the brain makes up less than 1.5% of male and female cancer in Northern Ireland.