Brain Cancer

Unleashing the Truth - Zachary Dancoes & Sean Johnson

What is the definition of Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer consists of a strong, deadly tumour that doesn’t go down very easily (Clarke).

Brain tumors are overgrowths in the brain.

  • It is unlikely for the tumors to go outside the brain as they metastasize by local extension

  • benign = non-cancerous, doesn’t move from where it came from

  • malignant = has cancer cells or harmless cells restrict an important function (Carson-DeWitt)

  • Primary Brain Tumor = starts in brain
  • Secondary/Metastatic Tumor = starts elsewhere and spreads to brain (Mayo)

What are the symptoms of brain cancer?

There are a wide variety of symptoms stemming from brain cancer, almost all of them being very noticeable.

  • Over 10 symptoms, ranging from seizures to personality changes

  • Symptoms do not appear until later in brain cancer development

How Prevalent is Brain Cancer?

  • Estimated 22,850 adults with a diagnosis of primary malignant tumors in U.S. 2015.
  • Estimated 15,320 adults = dead from this in U.S. 2015.

  • About 4,300 children and teens will be diagnosed with a brain or Central Nervous System tumor in 2015 U.S.
  • More than half of those are younger than 15 years old (Brain Tumor Statistics).

688,096 people (both malignant and non-malignant)

diagnosed with a primary brain or CNS tumor in

U.S. 2010.

Majority of survival is between 0 and 44 years (2015 CBTRUS).

How is Brain Cancer diagnosed?

Brain cancer is first able to be diagnosed when a patient exhibits multiple symptoms of brain cancer. Then, the patient is examined for a plethora of problems to see if the patient has brain cancer, including:

  • balance and coordination

  • abstract thinking and memory

  • eye movements

  • and more

What are the possible causes of Brain Cancer?

The reason is not completely understood for the change of normal cells to cancer cells.

Risk factors: jobs in oil refineries, jet fuel and benezene like chemical handlers, rubber-industry persons, embalmers or chemists have greater brain cancer rates over the general people.

  • Past family members with brain cancer (possible, not proven)

  • Smoking, exposure to radiation, HIV (suggested, not proven)

  • Contagious, head trauma, cell phone use (no good evidence) (Stöppler).

Not exactly sure of the cause of primary brain tumors. Doctors have come up with potential risk factors:

Brain tumors occur at any age, more common in older adults, certain types are only for children

Ionizing radiation exposure increases brain tumor risk.

ex. radiation therapy for cancer treatment

ex. radiation from atomic bombs

Other forms of radiation are not proven to be connected with brain tumors

Those with a family history of brain tumors or genes that increase the risk (Mayo).

What happens at the cellular/molecular level?

Check out a video here!

What are the Treatments and/or Cures of Brain Cancer?


  • To remove the tumor and also some good tissue around it
  • Is sometimes the only thing that is needed for treatment
  • Can improve symptoms, make different treatments work better, and often greater the success rate of the result of the person with the brain cancer

Radiation Therapy

  • Uses high energy x-rays to eliminate brain cancer cells to stop or slow the growing cells

Ways for treatment:

External = external beam radiation therapy

Internal = internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy

  • Uses drugs to get rid of the tumor cells to stop the growth and division in order to destroy bad cells, decrease the rate of growth and to lower the symptoms

Targeted Therapy:
  • Targets specific genes, proteins, or tissue area connected to the cancer cells
  • Stops the growth and malignant of the cancer cells, without excessive damage to the good cells

Getting better is not always going to happen.

Is considered advanced or terminal when it is incurable or uncontrollable (Brain Tumor).

MLA Works Consulted

2015 ACS Brain Cancer Facts & Figures. Digital image. St. Louis CyberKnife. St. Louis CyberKnife., 2015. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

"2015 CBTRUS Fact Sheet." CBTRUS. Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States,

2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.

"Brain tumor." World of Health. Gale, 2007. Science in Context. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

"Brain Tumor Statistics." Brain Tumor Statistics. American Brain Tumor Association, Nov.

2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.

"Brain Tumor - Treatment Options." Cancer.Net. American Society of Clinical Oncology, 25

June 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.

Carson-DeWitt, Rosalyn, and Melinda Granger Oberleitner. "Brain tumor." The Gale

Encyclopedia of Medicine. Ed. Jacqueline L. Longe. 5th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale,

2015. Science in Context. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

Clarke, Michael F. "Neurobiology: At the root of brain cancer." Nature 432.7015 (2004): 281+.

Science in Context. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

The authors credibility in this article does not need to be questioned as it is written by Professor Michael Clarke, a man with an M.D. degree and is head of the his own Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at the University of Stanford. Dr. Clarke also was in the Departments of Internal Medicine, and Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School. At the end of the article his email is given for anyone to further pursue and ask further questions on related topics. This article dives deeply into the science behind CD133 + and - cells along with a thorough definition of what a brain tumor is and how it is connected to the brain stem cells in the body. Overall, a highly credible source evident of strong scientific research to support his claims. In the future, it may be better to find a source more related to my topic and less specific with more general information, but it all begins with the powerful definition of Brain Tumors at the start of the article.

Distribution of Adult Primary Brain/CNS Tumors. Digital image. CERN Foundation. CERN

Foundation, Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network, 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

Facts about Brain Tumors in the United States. Digital image. National Brain Tumor Society. N.p., 2012. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

Hayden, Erika Check. "Genomics boosts brain-cancer work: molecular findings start to open up avenues of diagnosis and treatment." Nature 463.7279 (2010): 278. Science in Context.

Web. 16 Dec. 2015

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Brain Tumor." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and

Research, 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Brain Tumor." Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Foundation for Medical

Education and Research, 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

Stöppler, Melissa Conrad. "Brain Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Treatment - What Is Metastatic

Brain Cancer? - MedicineNet." MedicineNet. Ed. Charles Patrick Davis. MedicineNet,

Inc., 4 May 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.