Brain Cancer occurs as a result of the abnormality in the growth of brain cells. Cancerous cells form malignant tumors which stop the brain from functioning normally. Cancer cells causing tumors are named as malignant tumors while benign tumors are formed by non cancerous cells. It is difficult to analyze tumors closely because all of the tumors in the brain do not possess the same quality though their growth starts from the same brain tissue. However, brain tumors depend on factors like the area in which it arises and the type of tissues into which the cancer develops whether cancerous or non cancerous.
Primary brain cancer: Cancer that is caused in the brain cells, membranes, glands and nerves in the brain is said to be primary brain cancer. Glioma is one such type of brain tumor arising in the brain stem.
Secondary brain cancer: This type of cancer is also known as metastatic brain cancer which occurs when tumors spread from other organs of the body to the brain. Melanoma is the said to be the common form of secondary brain tumor.
Brain cancer can arise in any part of the brain like parietal, frontal, temporal lobes, brain stem or meningeal membranes. It is often difficult to analyze the disease as it may contain few or no symptoms. Sometimes the same symptoms may be seen in other diseases as well. However, the symptoms of brain cancer may be most common or non-specific which include:
- Headache particularly in the morning
- Sensation of vomiting and nausea
- Problems in walking
- Blurred vision
- Loss of memory
- Loss of speech
- Numbness of the arms
- Jerks in the muscles
- Problems in balancing
- Changes in mental capacity
- Changes in concentration
- Back pain
- Abnormal eye movements
Males are often at the risk of developing brain cancer rather than females. Most of the brain tumors do not exist with any reasons. The origin of the disease may prove to be a genetic factor. Excessive intake of tobacco might be one of the reasons for the disease. Workers exposed to chemicals particularly in oil refineries and rubber industries, embalmers and working with formaldehyde are at the risk of developing brain cancer. Carcinogenic substances like vinyl chloride might lead to this disease. Old aged people are also at a higher rate of risk. It is observed that HIV and aspartame (artificial sweetener) can cause brain cancer but no clear evidence has been suggested to prove the above fact.
The complete physical examination and family medical history of the patient is taken into consideration at the initial stage of observation. A complete neurological examination is also conducted at a later stage. After a thorough analysis, the patient might be suggested to undergo CT scan or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or sometimes both. Tests like Angiogram where a series of X-rays are taken after injecting a dye into the artery, Brain scan, Myelogram which is a computerized scan of the spine and MR Spectroscopy may be suggested to analyze the stage of cancer in the brain more clearly.
Surgery, radiation therapy and chromo therapy are the best methods of treatment for brain cancer. A surgery tends to cut away the tumor cells from the brain tissue while radiation therapy is a non-surgical procedure that causes destruction to the tumor cells with the help of high-energy radiation. Chromo therapy is another method to kill tumor cells with the help of specialized drugs for brain cancer. Hyperthermia (heat treatments), immunotherapy and steroids to control the swelling of the brain are included as a part of the treatment. Corticisteroids like dexamethosone to reduce the intensity of swelling and anticonvulsants like evetiracetam to control seizures are often suggested. Antacids or histamine blockers are recommended for the reduction of stress ulcers.
Apart from the symptoms of brain cancer, the treatment might also cause a few complications. Nausea, vomiting, weakness are identified as some of the complications occurring after the treatment. Hair loss is proved to be the most damaging complication. The patient might even experience a damage of the skin after surgery or radiation therapy. In some cases the changes occurred after a surgery may be permanent.
It is often very difficult to prevent brain cancers. Identifying the tumor at an early stage and treating it onset would be the best way to prevent the disease. Avoidance of working in radiation plants and not getting exposed to hazardous chemicals would reduce the risk of brain cancer. Reducing the usage of cell phones and macrobiotic diets would also prevent the growth of primary tumors in the brain.
The patient of brain cancer might experience problems in speech, vision and motor skills. Such patients might be suggested to perform some physical exercises to improve movement. In some cases occupational therapy and speech therapy by specialists would be reduce the above problems. Meditation and yogic exercises may be performed at home for speedy recovery. Some relaxation techniques might also prove helpful. Some common home remedies include brazilian pepper mixed in water for half an hour, mushrooms taken twice a day would reduce tumors to some extent. Avoiding excessive consumption of meat would reduce the risk. Fresh fruits and vegetables need to be included in the diet to prevent such diseases.
A position spirit with the attitude of enjoying life without any stress would act as a protection from the development of such cancerous cells. A daily exercise and deep breathing techniques would help in creating an oxygenated environment where cancer cells do not survive.