Brain tumors can develop anywhere in the brain and can be either malignant or benign. They can occur in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and cerebellum — as well as deep within the brain stem. The potential effects of a brain tumor depend on its location and size.
The cerebral cortex is the outermost layer of the brain’s two hemispheres and it is responsible for higher functioning instincts like reasoning, problem-solving and language comprehension. Tumors located in this part of the brain can cause seizures, paralysis, speech problems and memory loss as they grow. Depending upon the size, location and type of tumor, surgery may be recommended to remove or reduce it.
The brain stem is located between the cerebrum and spinal cord. Tumors that occur in the brain stem may cause difficulty with balance and coordination, difficulty swallowing, confusion, double vision and slurred speech. Additionally, the symptoms may depend on which side of the brain stem is affected and whether it is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor or malignant (cancerous) tumor. Surgery may not be recommended in these cases due to the location as it could risk nerve damage or paralysis. Radiation therapy may be used instead to reduce or shrink the tumor if possible.
The cerebellum is located at the back of the brain and plays an important role in movement, balance and posture. Tumors located in this region can cause difficulty with movement, coordination, muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, as well as loss of sensation in areas such as the legs or arms. Surgery may be recommended to remove these tumors and radiation may be used post surgery to reduce any remaining tumor cells that could not be removed through the initial operation.
The basal ganglia are located deep in the brain and are associated with motor functions, mood and emotions. Tumors located in this region can cause motor problems such as difficulty walking or speaking, cognitive issues such as memory loss, and emotional instability. Depending on the size of the tumor in the brain, surgery may be used to remove the tumor as well as radiation therapy to reduce any remaining cells which could not be removed during surgery.
Limbic System Structure and Its Subdivisions
The limbic system is composed of various structures located deep in the brain and is responsible for controlling emotions and behaviors. Its subdivisions include the amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, cingulate gyrus and other structures involved with memory and emotional responses. Tumors located in this region of the brain can cause changes in behavior or emotional instability as well as deficits in learning and memory. Depending on the size of the tumor, surgery may be used to remove it as well as radiation therapy to reduce any remaining cells which could not be removed during surgery.