What Are the Symptoms of Brain Cancer?
Every person around the world is born with a potential for cancer, but one cannot simply “catch” it as a cold or nasty infection. When the functioning of a cell or a group of cells is affected, the growth may become uncontrolled. However, we can certainly make ourselves aware of the ones we can control.
What Is Brain Cancer?
Brain cancer is the growth of abnormal or cancerous cells in the brain. These cells form tumors that can either grow gradually or quickly, depending on the type of tumor. Brain cancer can develop from various types of brain cells (also known as primary brain cancer) or when it spreads from other parts of the body to the brain (meta size). However, the original brain cancers are the ones that occur in the brain itself.
Brain cancer stages can indicate the extent of the spread of cancer, while the type of brain cancer IQ can reveal what type of brain cells are responsible for giving rise to the tumor. Furthermore, the symptoms of brain cancer can vary, while the grades of brain cancer can determine the state of aggression. Overall, brain tumors can threaten life and must be treated the moment they’re detected.
Symptoms of Brain Cancer
Depending on the location and size of the brain tumor, the symptoms of brain cancer can vary. Common symptoms of brain cancer include:
- Muscle twitching
- Changes in personality
- Lack of coordination
- Memory lapses
- Speech problems
- Muscle jerking
- Abnormal eye movements
- Vision problems
- Inability to walk
- Headaches (usually worse in the mornings)
- Numbness in the legs and arms
- Lack of balance
- Difficulty in thinking
With early detection, the prognosis of brain cancer can be improved greatly.
Types of Brain Cancer
The naming of the brain tumors is based on their location in the brain or upper spine. They are also given grades that tell us how quickly it’s expected to grow. These grades can go from 1 to 4, with grade 1 growing the slowest and 4 growing the fastest.
The most common types of brain cancers or tumors include:
- Ganglioglioma – These are slow-growing tumors in the glial cells and neurons that can be treated with surgery.
- Glioma – These tumors originate in the glial cells and account for about 3 out of 10 cases of brain cancer.
- Meningioma – These tumors are the most common type of brain tumor in adults and are often slow-growing and benign. They grow in the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
- Astrocytoma – These are a type of glioma that include glioblastomas which are the fastest-growing type of brain tumor.
- Schwannomas – These are slow-growing and almost always benign tumors that develop around the cranial nerves.
- Craniopharyngiomas – These slow-growing tumors form between the brain and pituitary gland. They often put pressure on the optic nerves, which can cause vision problems.
- Medulloblastoma – These fast-growing tumors are very common in children and form on the brain’s nerve cells.
Diagnosis of Brain Cancer
The doctor or neurologist may perform one of the following to make a diagnosis if you’re suffering from brain cancer symptoms:
- A neurological examination to ascertain if the tumor is affecting the brain.
- Imaging tests like MRI, CT, and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to locate the tumor.
- A procedure known as the lumbar puncture is performed through which a small sample of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord is collected to check for cancer cells.
- A surgical procedure known as brain biopsy is performed in which a small amount of the tumor is removed for diagnostic testing. This helps in determining if the tumor is malignant.
See Also: What Are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer?
Treatment of Brain Cancer
Some of the common treatments for brain tumors include:
- Radiation Therapy – Here, high-energy waves like X-rays are used to destroy the tumor and the cancer cells that can’t be removed surgically.
- Biologic Drugs – These drugs help in directing, boosting, and restoring the body’s natural defenses against the tumor.
- Chemotherapy – Here, the drugs used can destroy the cancer cells in the brain and shrink the tumor. A person may receive chemotherapy intravenously or orally.
Surgery – Here, the cancer treatment surgery might be able to remove the tumor, partially, fully, or not all. It is the most common treatment for a brain tumor.
- Other Medicines – The neurologist may prescribe certain medications to treat the side effects and symptoms caused by the tumor or the cancer treatments.
Brain cancer may be a frightening diagnosis to receive. However, with new research and treatments, the odds have improved, and the survival rates have been increasing for people with brain cancer. Consult your doctor if you develop any brain cancer symptoms and get yourself treated before it’s too late.
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