Brain cancer arises because of the abnormal growth of cells in the brain. These malignant tumors may arise from the primary cells of brain, also known as primary tumors. If they are developed because of the cancerous growth of cells in some other parts of the body that has spread to the brain through blood stream, then they are known as metastatic tumors. These normally originate from kidney, breast, lungs or malignant skin cancer, .i.e. melanoma. These tumors are more common and are generally found in the cerebrum.
Primary tumors arise whenever there occurs an error in the DNA of the normal cells. Secondary brain tumors are caused whenever the cancer begins in some other part of the body and is then spread to the brain through the bloodstream.
Signs and Symptoms
Brain cancers are rare and because of this rarity the common signs and symptoms that are visible are often ruled out by the doctors for some other less serious conditions. The most commonest symptoms are frequent headaches, vomitting, and seizures. Mood or personality changes that comprise paranoia, temper tantrums, increased interest in sex, etc. may account for brain cancer as well. Loss of memory, taking longer time to complete simple routine tasks, difficulty in concentrating on things, blurred vision, ringing in ears, inability ot communicate effectively, etc. are some of the other symptoms.
If the health care provider suspects that you have brain cancer, then you may be required to do a complete neurological examination alongwith various imaging tests and biopsies. MRI scan will help in detecting hemorrhage or edema, while a CT scan will determine the type of cancer. PET will aid in detection of metastatic as well as the recurrent brain cancer in the earlier stages. It will also study the extent to which the tumor will respond to radiation and chemotherapy. Biopsy is used to determine the stage of malignancy, its growth rate, etc.
The treatment will vary depending on the type and size of the tumor, its location and the overall health of the patient. If the tumor is located, then surgery is one of the best options. However, it can be risky, as it may lead to bleeding or infection, or may even affect the nearby parts of body where the surgery is performed. Chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously or taken in the form of pills. External beam radiation or whole brain radiation is used to kill the cancer cells. Sometimes, this may cause irritation of the scalp, fatigue and headache. Radiosurgery includes mulitple beams that meet at a specific point to kill the tumor cells. Soon after the treatment the patient may need to undergo a rehabilitation program which includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.
There is no particular way in which brain cancers can be prevented. However, the risk can be reduced by avoiding contact with toxic chemicals, radiation, as well as avoiding HIV infection. Minimizing the radiation caused due to extensive cell phone usage is also yet another way of preventing brain cancer.
Therefore, make sure that you do not ignore any small signs and symptoms. Instead, get it checked by your doctor to rule out the possibility of brain cancer.