Understanding Brain Cancer
By: Amanda Stadtlander
Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain.
Although such growths are popularly called brain tumors, not all brain tumors are cancer. Cancer is a term reserved for malignant tumors.
Malignant tumors can grow and spread aggressively, overpowering healthy cells by taking their space, blood, and nutrients. They can also spread to distant parts of the body. Like all cells of the body, tumor cells need blood and nutrients to survive.
Tumors that do not invade nearby tissue or spread to distant areas are called benign.
Who is affected?
How are brain tumors found?
- Neurological examination – such as checking your muscle strength, reflexes, memory and your ability to tell hot from cold on your skin (sensation tests)
- Eye test – the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, tends to bulge a little if a tumor is present
- CT scan – three dimensional x-rays. A dye will be injected or swallowed if you are having a full body scan, so that anything unusual will show more clearly
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – similar to a CT scan, but magnetism instead of x-rays is used to create a picture. This test will almost certainly show up any brain tumor
- X-rays and blood tests – to test your general health
- Angiogram – injected dye is x-rayed as it flows through the blood vessels of your brain. This is not done for all types of brain tumors.
Chemotherapy is known to have many side effects. These side effects can effect homeostasis, which is property of cells, tissues, and organisms that allows the maintenance and regulation of the stability and constancy needed to function properly. Chemotherapy can impact the body's PH levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.
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