Brain Cancer

? The body normally forms new cells only when they areneeded to replace old or damaged ones. If somethinghappens to disturb this controlled process, abnormal orexcessive cells are produced. When this occurs a tumoris developed. This is known as cancer.

When a tumor is developed on the brain, it iscalled a brain tumor or brain cancer. Brain tumors canbe benign or malignant (benign being not cancerous andmalignant being cancerous). Both types can be deadlywhen dealing with the brain. Benign brain tumors consist of very slow growingcells.

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They have distinct borders and rarely spread toother locations. When viewed under a microscope, thecells of a benign tumor have an almost normalappearance. Even though these tumors sound harmlessthey can be life-threatening when located in such avital area.

Since the skull is unable to expand whenthe tumor grows it puts pressure on the brain. Thisresults in damaged brain tissues and if left untreateda person could die.A malignant tumor is a tumor that could potentiallyinvade and destroy important tissues and cells. Theycan also spread to other parts of the body(metastasize). Brain tumors can initially start in thebrain.

They can also spread to other parts of the bodyfrom the brain but this rarely happens. Some tumors may be worse than others. Tumorstaging is used to determine the extent of cancer. Thestage indicates if the cancer has spread and how far. The stages are listed below:T = Primary tumor size/extentT0: Primary tumor not presentT1, T2, T3, T4The higher the number, the larger the size/extentof the tumor.

N = Regional lymph node involvementN0: No lymph node involvementN1, N2, N3The higher the number, the more lymph nodeinvolvement.M = Distant metastasis M0: no metastasisM1: Metastasis presentThe cause of brain cancer is unknown. It is likelythey are caused by many factors.

Some of these factorsare genetic damage, inheritance, electromagneticfields, weak immune system, viruses, injury, diet,chemicals, hormones, environmental factors, andoccupational factors. The most common and often first symptoms of braintumors are headaches and seizures. Later symptomsinclude nausea, vomiting, fever, change in pulse, andtrouble breathing. Mental changes may also occur suchas difficulty in communication and speech.

In generalsymptoms greatly depend on the location of the tumor. For example if the tumor is on the occipital lobe, youwould have problems with your vision.Treatment of a tumor depends on its location andtype, but surgical removal of the tumor if the primarytreatment for cancer. Some tumors can be removedwithout harm to any part of the brain while others arein areas that make surgical removal impossible. Mosttumors are treated with a combination of chemotherapy,radiation therapy, and surgery.

A new procedure isbeing tried called gamma knife, which is a type ofradio surgery. It uses precise radiation to isolateand kill the tumor. One positive aspect of thisprocedure is that it limits the amount of radiationthat the entire brain receives so less normal braincells are destroyed.Some Statistics? Within the next year, over 100,000 people in theU.S. will be diagnosed with brain cancer.

? Brain tumors are the second leading cause of deathin the age group 15-34.? Brain tumors are the second fastest growing causeof cancer death among those over age 65.? Approximately 44 percent of all primary braintumors are benign.

? Unlike most benign tumors when located on the brainthey can cause death. ? Because of their location brain, tumors aredifficult to treat.? Brain cancer research is underfunded.? The cause of brain cancer is still unknown.

? The cure rate for brain cancer is lower than thatof most other types of cancer.