Brain cancer is one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat malignancies. Brain cancer is mainly caused by abnormal cell growth in the tissue of the brain. These have various symptoms like seizures, sleepiness, confusion, and behavioral changes. There are many types of tumors some are non-cancerous (benign) and some are cancerous (malignant). Malignant tumors grow very aggressively and spread to other parts of the body. The tumor cells require blood and nutrients to survive. Tumors that do not spread to other tissues are called benign.
The exact cause for brain cancer is unknown. Some factors that increase the risk of developing brain tumor are genetic factors, exposed to various environmental toxins for example if you have worked in an industry where you happen to handle cancerous chemicals, if you have received a radiation therapy to treat another cancer, HIV infection, and cigarette smoking, age, home and work exposure, family history, high exposure to infections, viruses, and allergens, electromagnetic fields.
SYMPTOMS OF BRAIN CANCER
- Unusual pain in the head
- Frequent headaches gradually becoming more severe
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems related to vision such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
- A gradual loss of sensation in arm or leg
- Unable to balance
- Difficulty in talking
- Unable to focus on daily matters
- Hearing issues
- Changes in mental status like loss of memory, attention, and concentration
TYPES OF CANCER
There are many types of cancers and each one of it gets the name from the type of cells involved.
- Acoustic neuromas (schwannomas)
- Pituitary adenomas
- Germ cell tumors
- Neurological exam – this includes vision testing, hearing, balance, strength, and reflexes. If any part is having difficulty
it may provide a clue about the affected area.
- Imaging tests – doctors use an MRI scan to diagnose brain tumors and evaluate the tumor and plan the treatment.
Sometimes CT scans are recommended. Positron emission tomography (PET) is suggested for brain imaging, but it is not very useful for creating images related to brain cancer. It is mostly used for other varieties of cancer.
- Tests are done to find cancer in other parts of the body – if a brain cancer that has spread from another part of
the body doctors recommends various tests to identify the actual place.
- Biopsy – a biopsy is done to remove a brain tumor or a biopsy is performed using a needle. A stereotactic needle biopsy is done for brain tumors in places where it is very hard to reach or the very sensitive area. A neurosurgeon drills a small hole in the skull and a thin needle is inserted through the hole and a small tissue is taken using the needle, the process is continuously guided by CT or MRI scanning. The sample tissue is examined to identify if it is cancerous or benign.
Brain cancer treatment options are:
- Surgery – Surgery is always the first line of treatment for brain cancer. This Procedure may include minimally invasive
surgical techniques to precisely and safely remove tumors.
- Chemotherapy is used to treat high – grade brain cancer; it is done alone or in combination with other brain cancer
treatments, such as surgery and/or radiation therapy.
- Neurosurgery – it is a specialized type of surgery performed on the nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal
cord, this mainly focuses on removing the entire brain tumor.
- Radiation therapy – radiation therapy treatment is used to destroy brain tumor cells and to relieve symptoms caused by a tumor.
- Targeted therapy – Targeted therapy drug focuses on specific abnormalities that are present within the cancer cells. By controlling these abnormalities, targeted drug treatments will help the cancer cells to die.