by Aby Hughes
What is cancer?
How Does Cancer Start?
What Genes Are Affected?
"We now know that two genes -- C/EPB and Stat3 -- are the disease's master 'control knobs,'" researcher Antonio Iavarone, MD, associate professor of neurology in the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Center at Columbia University Medical Center, says in a news release. "When simultaneously activated, they work together to turn on hundreds of other genes that transform brain cells into highly aggressive, migratory cells."
Symptoms vs Locations
Most tumor locations determine symptoms and treatments. Some basic symptoms of brain cancer are:
Loss of appetite
Headaches that often are worse in the morning
Nausea or vomiting
Weakness or loss of feeling in the arms or legs
Stumbling or lack of coordination when walking
Abnormal eye movements or changes in vision
Changes in personality or memory
Changes in speech
Changes in hearing
Changes in mood
Changes in mental capacity and concentration
Recurring, persistent, deep, dull headaches.
Changes in sensory perceptions, such as vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
Changes in personality and/or thought processes.
Abnormal pulse and breathing rates.
Some tumors are slow growing, which makes discovering these tumors harder. Other types of tumors grow quickly making symptoms appear fairly quickly. As brain tumors grow, the brain can swell and fluid may form. This can cause intracranial pressure, AKA, pressure inside the skull. As pressure increases, it affects more parts of the brain which in turn creates more symptoms. The symptoms are subjective to the location of the tumor. Meaning, if you have a tumor on your spinal cord or the bones around the spinal cord your symptoms might include:
- back or neck pain
- tingling or numbness in hands, feet, arms, or legs
- loss of sexual function
- loss of bladder/bowel control
More than 17,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with a brain tumor.
Nearly 70,000 new cases of primary brain tumors will be diagnosed this year.
More than 4,600 children between the ages of 0-19 will be diagnosed with a brain tumor this year.
Brain and central nervous system tumors are the most common cancers among children ages 0-19.
There are nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. living with a brain tumor.
This year, nearly 14,000 people will lose their battle with a brain tumor.
There are more than 120 types of brain tumors.
They are the
leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).
second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males ages 20-39 (leukemia is the first).
- fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20-39.
How Does Cancer Affect Whole Body Systems?
Is It Life-Threatening?
What are some treatment options?
Steroids, to relieve swelling.
Anticonvulsants, to prevent or control seizures.
Radiation therapy, to destroy tumor tissue that cannot be removed with surgery or to kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery, or when surgery is not possible.
Chemotherapy, to kill cancer cells.
Brachytherapy, to destroy tumor cells from the inside (internal radiation therapy).
Bevacizumab (avastin), a biologic drug that blocks the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors.
Immunotherapy, including cytokine therapy, passive immunotherapy, and active immunotherapy, which help bolster the immune system to fight the tumor.
Surgery, to remove the tumor if possible