Symptoms Of Brain Cancer
Brain cancer causes symptoms when it pushes on the brain or destroys brain tissue. Symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumour as well as how quickly it grows. The symptoms of brain cancer are numerous and not specific to brain tumors, meaning they can be caused by many other illnesses as well. The only way to know for sure what is causing the symptoms is to undergo diagnostic testing. Symptoms can be caused by:
- A tumor pressing on or encroaching on other parts of the brain and keeping them from functioning normally.
- Swelling in the brain caused by the tumor or surrounding inflammation.
The symptoms of primary and metastatic brain cancers are similar. The following symptoms are most common:
- vision changes (such as double vision)
- coordination problems
- weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- changes in mood, senses, personality, or feelings
- memory problems
- confusion or trouble concentrating
Types of Brain Cancer
Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain.
- Although such growths are popularly called brain tumors, not all brain tumors are cancer.
- 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.
- In general, a benign tumor is less serious than a malignant tumor. But a benign tumor can still cause many problems in the brain by pressing on nearby tissue.
Primary Brain Cancers
The brain is made up of many different types of cells.
- Some brain cancers occur when one type of cell transforms from its normal characteristics. Once transformed, the cells grow and multiply in abnormal ways.
- As these abnormal cells grow, they become a mass, or tumor.
- The brain tumors that result are called primary brain tumors because they originate in the brain.
- The most common primary brain tumors are gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (medulloblastomas). The term glioma includes glioblastomas, astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas.
Metastatic Brain Cancer
Metastatic brain tumors are made of cancerous cells from a tumor elsewhere in the body. The cells spread to the brain from another tumor in a process called metastasis. This is the most common type of brain tumor.
Treatment for a brain tumor differs depending on several factors: a person’s age, general health, and the size, location, and type of tumor.
Brain Cancer Surgery
- The purpose of surgery is to confirm that the abnormality seen during testing is indeed a tumor and to remove the tumor. If the tumor cannot be removed, the surgeon will take a sample of the tumor to identify its type.
- In some cases, mostly in benign tumors, symptoms can be completely cured by surgical removal of the tumor. The neurosurgeon will attempt to remove all the tumor when possible.
Radiation Therapy for Brain Cancer
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the use of high-energy rays to kills tumor cells, thereby stopping them from growing and multiplying.
- Radiation therapy may be used for people who cannot undergo surgery. In other cases, it is used after surgery to kill any tumor cells that may remain.
- Radiation therapy is a local therapy. This means that it affects only cells in its path. It does not harm cells elsewhere in the body or even elsewhere in the brain.
Causes of Brain Cancer
As with tumors elsewhere in the body, the exact cause of most brain cancer is unknown. Genetic factors, various environmental toxins,radiationto the head, HIV infection, and cigarette smoking have all been linked to cancers of the brain. In most cases, no clear cause can be shown.