Brain Cancer

By: Carly Pakenas

Introduction to Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissue of the brain, also known as a tumor. A tumor that grows in the brain is called a primary brain tumor. A primary brain tumor is sometimes, but not always cancerous. A tumor that starts in another part of the body and then spreads to the brain is called a metastatic brain tumor. If a tumor is cancerous it is called a malignant tumor, if it is not cancerous it is called a benign tumor. Both however, require treatment and care. Although benign tumors do not cause cancer, they grow and press on surrounding parts of the brain, which causes complications but will not spread. Malignant tumors are very likely to grow rapidly and spread to other areas of the brain.

What are symptoms of brain cancer ?

There are many warning signs or symptoms for brain cancer, someone who has brain cancer may be experience one or more of the following symptoms : severe headaches, loss of balance, blurred vision, seizures, difficulty walking and speaking, reduced sense of touch, weakness in one side of the body, weakness in arms and legs, nausea and or vomiting, loss of balance, fatigue, vertigo, and confusion. In some cases, there will be no symptoms at all.

How is brain cancer treated ?

Brain cancer can be treated in a number of ways, like :


Surgery:

Removal of brain tumor.


Chemotherapy:

The use of drugs to kill rapidly dividing cells. It can be taken orally or intravenously.



Radiation:

X-rays and other forms of radiation can destroy tumor cells or delay tumor growth.



Medication

How common is brain cancer ?

Both benign and malignant brain tumors are uncommon. They occur in about every 12 in 100,000 people yearly. However the most common tumor in adults is the benign meningioma. In children, medulloblastoma tumors are more common. Brain cancer that started somewhere else in the body, but spread to the brain is much more common than cancer that starts inside the brain.

Who can get brain cancer ?

Brain cancer can form in children and adults. The types of tumors that form and the way they are treated are different in children and adults. In adults, anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas are about one-third of brain tumors found in adults. In children, astrocytomas are the most common type of brain tumor.

How is brain cancer diagnosed?

Brain cancer is usually diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging, also known as MRI. Sometimes, computed tomography scans (CT or CAT scans) are used.

How can you prevent brain cancer ?

There is no direct way to prevent brain cancer like you would lung cancer, however, death of brain cancer can be prevented if the brain tumor is caught early and before it spreads to any other part of the body. If the cancer originated somewhere else in the body, but metastasized to the brain than it is more difficult to terminate at that point.

Brain cancer prognosis

Brain cancer prognosis ( chance of survival ) is dependent on many factors such as age, tumor size and type, rate of growth and metastasis, and the location of the tumor.