Brain tumours in teenagers and young adults refer to abnormal growth of cells in the brain that can occur in individuals between the ages of 13 and 39. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). These tumours can appear in different parts of the brain and spinal cord and can have varying levels of severity.

Tumours can affect brain function, depending on their location. Symptoms can include headaches, seizures, issues with vision, vomiting, changes in mood, memory, or personality, and difficulties with motor skills or verbal communication.

The cause of most brain tumour is unknown, but some can be linked to genetic conditions. Diagnosis typically involves neurological exams and imaging tests such as MRI or CT scan. Importantly, they do not spread to other parts of the body, though malignant tumours can spread within the brain and spinal cord.

Brain tumours in teenagers

Treatment options for brain tumours in teenagers and young adults may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Ongoing research is done to find new treatments and improve existing ones. Survival rates and outcomes can vary significantly, based on factors such as the type of tumour, its location, and the person’s overall health.

Psychological support and rehabilitation can be crucial for these young patients and their families, given the significant impact of diagnosis and treatment on their lives.

Causes of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Brain tumours in teenagers and young adults are quite rare, and the exact causes are not always known. However, below are some potential factors that can increase the risk:

1. Genetic disorders: Some inherited genetic disorders can increase the risk of brain tumours. These include neurofibromatosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, and Turcot syndrome.

2. Exposure to radiation: Exposure to radiation, especially at a young age can increase the risk of brain tumours. This includes radiation from previous medical treatments or from nuclear disasters.

3. Immune system disorders: Some research suggests that having a weakened immune system may increase the risk of certain types of brain tumours.

4. Family history: If a close relative such as a parent or sibling has had a brain tumour, the risk can be slightly increased.

5. Other potential risk factors include previous cancer treatments, especially for leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which can sometimes cause brain tumours as a secondary cancer later in life.

Please note that none of these risk factors means that someone will definitely develop a brain tumour. The presence of one or more risk factors simply increases the likelihood; it does not guarantee development. Furthermore, many brain tumours occur in people with no known risk factors at all.

Most importantly, anyone showing persistent symptoms like headaches, nausea, seizures, changes in behaviour, memory loss, or difficulty walking should seek medical advice promptly as these could indicate a brain tumour or other serious condition. Early detection is crucial in managing and treating this disease.

Risk Factors of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Brain tumours in teenagers and young adults can occur due to several risk factors. These risk factors do not guarantee that an individual will develop a brain tumour; however, they increase the chances. It’s also worth noting that some develop brain tumours without any known risk factors.

1. Genetic Factors: Certain inherited conditions can increase the risk of developing brain tumors, including neurofibromatosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Tuberous sclerosis, and Von Hippel-Lindau disease.

2. Prior Radiation Therapy: Teenagers and young adults who have undergone radiation therapy, especially to the head, for other conditions may have an increased risk of developing a brain tumour later on.

3. Immunosuppression: Individuals with weakened immune systems, either from disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or medication (such as those following organ transplantation), may have an increased risk of developing a brain tumor.

4. Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain environmental pollutants or chemicals may increase the risk of developing brain tumours, but further research is needed.

5. History of Childhood Cancer: Teenagers or young adults who were diagnosed with cancer at a young age may have an increased risk of developing a brain tumour.

6. Certain Infectious Agents: Some research suggests a link between brain tumours and exposure to certain viruses and bacteria, like the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but more research is needed in this area.

Remember to note that while these factors might increase the risk, they do not mean someone will certainly develop a brain tumour. It’s also quite possible for someone without any of these risk factors to still develop a brain tumour. In many cases, the cause of a person’s brain tumour is simply not known. Therefore, regular checks and leading a healthy lifestyle is advised to everyone.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Brain tumours can manifest differently in people depending on their age, size, type, and location. For teenagers and young adults, the signs and symptoms of brain tumours might not always be obvious or they may mimic signs of other more common teenage problems.

However, some of the typical symptoms may include:

1. Headaches: This is a very common symptom. They are usually worse in the morning and ease throughout the day. They can become more severe and persistent over time.

2. Nausea or Vomiting: Especially in the mornings or following a sudden position change. This may be more persistent than typical sickness.

3. Seizures or Fits: An episode of altered behaviour, sensations, or loss of awareness. There might be twitching or shaking of one or more limbs.

4. Changes in vision: Blurred vision, double vision, or loss of peripheral vision can occur.

5. Changes in personality or behaviour: A usually calm person might start having extreme mood swings, become aggressive or withdrawn.

6. Changes in intellectual ability: Difficulty remembering things, concentrating or paying attention, thinking, and organising may be seen.

7. Difficulty with coordination or balance: They may become clumsy, display unexplained weakness or numbness, or have trouble walking.

8. Sleep problems: This could include sleeping more than usual, or having difficulty getting to sleep.

It’s vital to remember that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that the person has a brain tumour. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions. However, if you or someone else is experiencing a combination of these symptoms, especially if they’re persisting, severe, or getting worse, it is advised to seek medical attention.

Diagnosis Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Brain tumours in teenagers and young adults are abnormal growths of cells in the brain that can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They can occur for various reasons including genetic factors, exposure to radiation, or due to certain inherited conditions.

Symptoms often depend on the location of the tumour within the brain. Common signs or symptoms include persistent headaches, seizures, difficulty with balance and coordination, vision, speech or hearing problems, changes in mood, personality or ability to concentrate, fatigue and more.

There are different types of tumours that could develop in teenagers and young adults, such as gliomas, medulloblastomas, and meningiomas, among others. For diagnosis, doctors often use techniques such as neurological examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, or in some cases, a biopsy may be performed.

The treatment of brain tumours in teenagers and young adults depends on multiple factors such as the type, size and location of the tumour, the person’s overall health, etc. The primary treatments consist of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some situations, targeted drug therapy, rehabilitation (speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy), or clinical trials are also considered.

Regardless of age, having a brain tumour can be stressful and challenging, hence aside from medical treatment, psychological support for the patient and their family is often necessary.

Treatment of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

The treatment of brain tumours in teenagers and young adults primarily depends on the type, size and location of the tumour, as well as the patient’s overall health.

Typically, brain tumour treatment comprises surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy, alone or in combination.

1. Surgery: This is often the first line of treatment where the goal is to remove as much of the tumour as possible without affecting critical areas of the brain. If the tumour cannot be completely removed, the surgeon will remove as much as possible to help relieve symptoms.

2. Radiotherapy: This treatment uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It’s sometimes applied after surgery, to kill any cancer cells that may remain. There are different forms of radiotherapy including external beam radiation, proton therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, etc.

3. Chemotherapy: This uses medicine to kill cancer cells. It’s often used following surgery, in combination with radiation therapy, or for tumours that cannot be surgically removed. Medications can be oral (pills or liquid) or intravenous (IV).

4. Targeted Therapy: These are drugs that block the growth of cancer cells in specific ways that stop cancer cells from growing and spreading.

It’s important to note that teenagers and young adults might additionally need support dealing with some of the psychosocial aspects of their diagnosis, such as impact on their education, peer relationships and future fertility. Therefore, care for these patients often involves a multidisciplinary team that includes a paediatric oncologist, neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, neurologist, nurse, social worker, and a psychologist or counsellor.

Also, the possible long-term side effects of treatment will be carefully considered when a medical team is deciding on the most suitable treatment. These may include impact on growth and development, hormonal changes, learning difficulties, and the risk of other cancers in the future.

Remember, every individual is unique and each case will be reviewed and treated on an individual basis, depending on numerous factors. Always consult with the relevant healthcare professionals for the most accurate information.

Medications commonly used for Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Treatment for brain tumours in teenagers and young adults often involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and medication. Medication treatments for brain tumors typically consist of chemotherapy drugs, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and steroids to help manage symptoms such as swelling. Here is a bit more about some of the medications commonly used:

1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. For brain tumors, they can be administered orally, through injections, or directly into the brain. Common chemotherapy drugs for brain tumours include Temozolomide, Carmustine, Lomustine, and Bevacizumab.

2. Targeted Therapy: Changes in the DNA of the tumour are exploited in targeted therapy. Drugs like Bevacizumab directly target the tumor’s blood supply or other unique cancer cell characteristics, inhibiting their growth or destruction.

3. Hormone Therapy: Some brain tumors (like pituitary tumors) can be affected by hormones, and it’s sometimes helpful to use hormone therapy as part of a treatment plan. This might involve taking medications to adjust hormone levels.

4. Immunotherapy: This involves using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Medications used can include immune checkpoint inhibitors and vaccines, which can help stimulate the immune response.

5. Steroids: Steroids such as Dexamethasone may be administered to reduce swelling and manage symptoms associated with brain tumors.

Remember that the type of medication and treatment plan entirely depends on the type of tumor, its size, its location in the brain, and the patient’s overall health status. All treatments come with side effects, which should be discussed in detail with the healthcare provider.

Prevention of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Preventing brain tumors can be challenging, as the exact causes for most brain tumors are still not fully known. However, some general steps can be suggested to maintain a healthy lifestyle and potentially reduce the risk. Here are a few strategies that teenagers and young adults can follow:

1. Avoid Radiation Exposure: Exposure to high doses of radiation is the only well-defined environmental risk factor for brain tumors. This includes radiation from cell phones, TVs, computers, microwaves. While the evidence linking these types of radiation to brain tumors is inconsistent, it’s a good idea to limit exposure as a precaution.

2. Healthy Eating: A healthy diet may reduce your risk of many types of cancer, including brain cancer. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and keep a healthy body weight.

3. Physical Activity: Regular physical activity can help keep you healthy and may reduce your risk of various types of cancer. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.

4. No Tobacco or Alcohol: It’s confirmed that using tobacco and drinking a lot of alcohol can cause many types of cancer. While there’s no proven link to brain cancer, it’s best to avoid these substances to reduce your overall cancer risk.

Brain tumours in teenagers

5. Regulate Your Sleep Cycle: A regular and healthy sleep cycle is vital for your overall health, including your brain. Ensure you are getting an appropriate amount of undisturbed sleep every night.

6. Regular Check-ups: Regular medical check-ups are essential, especially so if your family has a history of cancer, as some forms of brain tumors are hereditary.

Remember, these are just preventative measures and by no means guarantee that you will not develop a brain tumor. If you have any concerns or see any symptoms, please consult a doctor immediately.

FAQ’s about Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

1. What is a brain tumour?
A brain tumour is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. It can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

2. Are teenagers and young adults at risk of getting brain tumours?
Yes, brain tumours can occur at any age, including in teenagers and young adults. However, certain types of brain tumours are more common in certain age groups.

3. What are the symptoms of brain tumours in teenagers and young adults?
Symptoms can vary widely depending on the location and size of the tumour, but can include headaches, nausea/vomiting, balance and coordination problems, changes in mood or personality, seizures, and changes in vision or other senses.

4. How are brain tumours diagnosed in teenagers and young adults?
Brain tumours are usually diagnosed through a combination of clinical examination, imaging tests like CT or MRI scans, and sometimes a biopsy where a small sample of the tumour is examined under a microscope.

5. What treatment options are available for brain tumours in teenagers and young adults?
Treatment options depend on the type, size, and location of the tumour and can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these.

6. What is the prognosis for teenagers and young adults with brain tumours?
The prognosis can vary widely depending on the type and grade of the tumour, the patient’s overall health, and how much of the tumour can be safely removed. Some brain tumours are curable with treatment, while others may be managed to extend life and improve symptoms.

7. Can lifestyle changes or diet help with managing brain tumours?
Healthy lifestyle can aid in recovery and general well-being. This includes balanced diet, regular physical activity, adequate rest, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking or excessive alcohol intake.

8. Can brain tumours in teenagers and young adults be prevented?
Most brain tumours are not linked to any known risk factors and therefore can’t be prevented. However, exposure to certain types of radiation and certain inherited conditions can increase the risk of brain tumours.

9. How does a brain tumour affect the daily life of a teenager or young adult?
The impact of a brain tumour on daily life can be significant, affecting physical abilities, cognitive functions, emotions, and social interactions. Adequate support from healthcare professionals, family, and friends is vital.

10. Are there support groups for teenagers and young adults with brain tumours?
Yes, support groups can be incredibly beneficial for patients and their families, providing emotional support, shared experiences, and practical advice. Many hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and online platforms offer such groups.

Useful links

Brain tumours in teenagers and young adults can take a different course compared to brain tumours in children or older adults. Thus, tailor-made research is essential for understanding the diverse pathologies and treatment options. Here are some useful journal links on the topic:


Please note that access to these articles may require subscriptions or purchase. Be sure to check with your organization to see if they have affiliations that might enable free access. For personalized advice on the treatment and management of brain tumours, always consult a qualified healthcare provider.

Complications of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

Brain tumours in teenagers and young adults can have multiple complications, with its severity and impact dependent on the type, size and location of the tumour.

1. Physical Complications: They may experience seizures, weakness, fatigue, or coordination problems. The tumour can also affect vision, hearing, or even speech if it’s located near those respective areas in the brain.

2. Cognitive & Behavioural Changes: Brain tumours may affect a person’s memory, concentration, and ability to learn or process information. It can also lead to changes in personality or behaviour. This can significantly affect a young person’s performance at school or their ability to engage in their usual activities.

3. Emotional and Psychological Complications: A diagnosis of a brain tumour often leads to significant anxiety, depression, or other psychological illnesses. It might also lead to body image issues, especially if the treatment involves surgery that changes the person’s physical appearance.

4. Long-term Complications: These can range from hormonal imbalances, developmental problems, or, if the tumour is malignant, the risk of it spreading to other parts of the brain or body.

5. Treatment Side Effects: Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, the common treatment methods for brain tumours, come with their own set of side effects. These could include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, susceptibility to infection, and other physical side effects. In the case of radiation therapy, there is also a risk of developing secondary tumours later in life.

6. Social Implications: Teenagers and young adults with brain tumours might struggle with the social implications of their illness. They may miss a significant amount of school, limiting their interaction with friends and making it hard to keep up with their studies. There may also be a significant impact on their future career plans, and their ability to carry out a normal lifestyle.

Considering these complications, it’s essential to have a comprehensive treatment plan that includes medical treatment, rehabilitation services, psychological support, and social services to help these young patients navigate their lives during and after the treatment.

Home remedies of Brain tumours: Teenagers and young adults

It’s extremely important to understand that home remedies, while they can help in improving symptoms and patient well-being, are in no way a direct cure or primary treatment for brain tumors.

Brain tumors in teenagers and young adults require proper medical attention, management, treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy from professional healthcare providers.

However, in conjunction with the prescribed conventional treatment, the following supportive strategies can be beneficial:

1. Healthy Diet: Consumption of a healthy and balanced diet can help in overall body health and help the body cope with the side effects of cancer treatments.

2. Physical Activity: Engaging in light exercises or physiotherapy (as permitted by the doctor) can help maintain body strength.

3. Stress Reduction Activities: Activities like Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can be beneficial to manage the stress and anxiety often associated with a medical diagnosis.

4. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is extremely crucial to help your body function properly.

5. Adequate Rest: Ensuring enough sleep is essential for the body’s healing process.

6. Natural Remedies: Some people find relief in natural remedies such as ginger or peppermint tea for nausea (a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation), or lavender aroma therapy for better sleep.

Please always consult with a doctor before making any changes in the treatment plan or before adding home remedies to the regime. Brain tumors are serious and have a multitude of factors to consider; self-treatment or treatment only via home remedies could be dangerous and can adversely affect health outcomes.

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Last Update: January 12, 2024