It can plague adults and children alike. Many lives have been claimed by cancer worldwide. In the US alone, more than 1.6 million have been diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Out of this number, more than half a million lives have succumbed to this treacherous ailment.
Just like AIDS, cancer has no known cure up to this time. There have been preventive measures that can be taken to hamper the spread of cancer cells in the body. However, there is no guarantee that these measures can cure cancer.
While cancer cannot be totally cured, early detection will greatly help counter cancer cells from spreading which extends the life of a sufferer or prevent the disease from becoming malignant.
That’s why a lot of people are pushing for brain cancer awareness or for any other types of cancer for that matter. Below are facts about brain cancer, its symptoms, causes, stages and treatment.
Brain Cancer Symptoms
Knowing that brain cancer can inflict anyone, you must know the early symptoms and risk factors for brain cancer. Remember that early detection is very important in taking the right treatments to prevent the disease from going to malignant. It is not being paranoid; it is becoming well-informed and prepared. The following are the symptoms of brain cancer.
• Getting seizures is commonly a symptom of brain cancer or brain tumor.
• Clumsiness and difficulty in walking are common symptoms of brain tumor.
• Light to severe headaches, usually in the morning, are also indicative of brain tumor.
• Unexplained weakness and fatigue are also common in brain cancer sufferers or those with brain tumors.
• Memory loss, unexplained alertness, difficulty in concentrating and other changes in the mental state of a person may indicate that he has brain cancer.
• Vomiting or nausea in the morning is another symptom for brain cancer that may also be an indication for another condition.
• Altered vision like partial/permanent loss of sight is common to brain cancer sufferers.
• Motor changes such as loss of balance and speech difficulty may also be attributed to a brain tumor or brain cancer.
• Facial numbness, loss of sense of taste and involuntary facial movements are also symptoms of brain tumor.
Brain Cancer Causes And Risk Factors
Just like its cure, the specific cause of brain cancer is unknown. Many have attributed it to genetics like most cancer can be hereditary, other types of cancers that may have metastasized to the brain, cigarette smoking, toxins from the environment, head trauma and HIV infection may in one way or the other cause brain cancer.
You will also have a higher risk when you recently had an exposure to radiation especially on the head, taking medication to counter HIV/AIDS and in constant exposure to vinyl chloride, a chemical that is commonly used in manufacturing plastic. If cancer runs in your family, you better have regular checkups and tests.
Also, if you think you are at a higher risk of getting brain tumor or cancer, don’t hesitate to check with the doctor about the symptoms you experience.
Brain Cancer Stages
There are various stages or grades for brain cancer. Each stage represents the severity as well as the effective treatments that can be applied.
Remember that early stages can be remedied with treatments while late stages are already malignant and may not be responsive to drugs or operations.
Below are brain cancer stages or grades and their descriptions:
Grade I: The tumor on your brain is least malignant. A successful surgery can warrant long term survival. The tumor is small and doesn’t show any sign of growth.
Grade II: Grade II tumors are bigger than Grade I tumors and have a higher tendency to spread to nearby cells and tissues. This type of tumor may recur even after operation.
Grade III: Tumors at this stage are considered malignant and actively spreading to nearby tissues. Tumors of this type metastasize at a higher rate. They have tendencies to recur, often into a Grade IV tumor.
Grade IV: The Grade III and Grade IV tumors have little difference. Grade IV tumors are rapidly metastasizing. They are bigger and even develop blood vessels so they can maintain their growth.
Tumor grades are usually determined based on how they look like on CT scans and MRI images. These tests are done before and after surgery to determine whether one has indeed a tumor in his brain and whether the tumor has been removed post-operation.
Brain Cancer Treatment
When tests determined that you have a brain tumor whether benign or malignant, you must actively search for brain cancer treatment. Again, early detection as well as treatment will give you better chances of recovery. Below are the most common treatments for brain cancer.
Brain Cancer Surgery: When you have a brain tumor, a neurosurgeon will advise that you undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Benign tumors can be totally removed and the cancer cells can be stopped from spreading. Early tumor grades have less likelihood to recur.
Brain Cancer Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy or radiotherapy makes use of high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be done in instances when a surgery cannot be performed. Radiotherapy is also used after surgery to clean out the remaining cancer cells after the tumor has been removed.
Chemotherapy for Brain Cancer: Chemotherapy is probably the most common treatment for any type of cancer. It is also used for brain cancer treatment. Chemotherapy makes use of high doses of drugs and chemicals to weaken or kill tumor cells which can be taken orally or through IV lines.
Aside from these treatment options, eating cancer-fighting foods and regular doctor visits can improve one’s condition. Avoiding stress will also make your immune system stronger which will help in your quick recovery as well as give you resistance in preparation for the treatments to be done on you.