Brain tumors are abnormal and uncontrolled growth of brain tissue. They may occur inside any lobe of the brain or in the lining of the brain. These tumors can be fatal depending on their severity and the patient’s health. Brain tumors may be of two types i.e. primary (benign/non-cancerous) or secondary (malignant /cancerous). To precisely diagnose and prepare a treatment plan, doctors need to classify these tumors into various grades. These grades are discussed here in this article by India’s best neurosurgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti.
The brain tumor grading system determines the severity of the tumor. A biopsy is done and then the tissue is examined under a microscope. The grading indicates the severity and the growth rate of the tumor. These grades range from 1-4 indicating 1 as the least severe and 4 as the most severe.
Grade 1 tumors are the least aggressive in nature and have the relatively least fatality rate. These tumors are benign, slow growing, and non-cancerous in nature. The symptoms are mostly not very serious. The prognosis is usually good and there are good chances of long-term survival. Under a microscopic investigation, the anatomy and the structure of the cells don’t seem to be disrupted. Grade 1 tumors are common in children and younger adults.
These tumors are slightly more aggressive than grade 1 tumors. They also grow at a slow rate but tend to metastasize. These tumors can spread to some other parts of the brain. Under a microscopic investigation, the structure of the cells seems to be slightly altered. These tumors can be recurrent and can come back with a higher grade than before. The prognosis is not as good as in grade 1.
When the tumor is at stage 3, it is very active in nature and continues to produce abnormal cells which are cancerous in nature. These tumors are malignant and can metastasize to other parts of the brain, and recur with a higher grade and intensity. These too under the microscope present abnormal cells.
This is the most aggressive stage of the tumor. It grows at a very fast speed and is very severe in nature. The cells multiply at a high rate and create new blood vessel networks to facilitate their growth. The cells look abnormal under the microscopic investigation. These tumors show necrotic areas inside them.