What is Brain Cancer?
Brain cancer is a fatal disease that occurs in the brain. Brain cancer starts with the problem of tumour. Brain tumour is an abnormal growth of some of the brain cells. However, initially, these brain cells remain at its origination point and do not spread in other part of the body.
So, the primarily, this tumour is known as:
- Benign Brain Tumour: Actually, it is benign cells that grow slowly and do not spread in other parts. However, if it is not treated then it can convert into cancer and can take life.
- Malignant Brain Tumour: Malignant brain tumour grows faster and spreads in neighbouring areas of brain. Though, this is sometimes called as brain cancer, but it is actually does not fit into the cancer’s definition, as its limited spreading nature. It spreads only in brain area and do not spread outside the brain. Untreated malignant brain tumour causes death.
- Metastatic Brain Tumours: This is the secondary type in which cancer begins in some other part the body and spread to the brain. The cancer cells normally carried to the brain by blood circulation. The common cancers that spread to brain are breast and lung cancers.
Type of Brain Tumours (Cancer):
Surprisingly, there are about 120 different types of brain tumours; significant of them are:
Grading of Brain Tumour:
As per the stages and fatality or aggressiveness of tumours, World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized into four grades. As the grade grows, the fatality of tumour grows in the same proportion.
Following are the four grades:
- Cells grow slowly
- It has almost normal appearance under a microscope
- It is least malignant
- It is usually associated with long-term survival
- It has relatively slow-growing cells
- It has a little abnormal appearance under a microscope
- It can invade adjoining normal tissue
- It can persist as a higher grade tumour
- It reproduces abnormal cells actively
- It has abnormal appearance under a microscope
- It infiltrates in adjoining normal brain tissue
- It tends to persist, often as a higher grade
- It reproduces abnormal cells rapidly
- It has very abnormal appearance under a microscope
- It forms new blood vessels to maintain its swift growth
- Areas of the dead cells (necrosis) are located in the centre
Cause of Brain Tumour:
Though, exact cause of brain tumour or cancer is not known; however, following conditions increase the risk of brain tumour:
- Cancer in some other part of the body (especially lung or breast)
- Inherited diseases, e.g. neuro-fibromatosis
- Exposure to noxious and fatal chemicals, industrial solvents, and pesticides
Symptoms of Brain Tumour:
As tumour affects the most sensitive and functional part of the body by destroying normal tissue, so its symptoms are severe; however, symptoms depend upon the type, location (in brain), and size of tumour.
Some of the common symptoms are discussed below:
- Stumbling and difficulty in walking
- Headaches, which becomes unbearable usually in the morning time
- Vision problem
- Abnormal eye movements
- Increase in intra-cranial pressure
- One side body weaken
As the size of tumour increases, symptoms become more sever e.g.
- Problem in speaking
- Loss of consciousness
- Short-term memory problems
Diagnosis of Brain Tumour:
Primarily, doctors take medical history of patient as well as his/her family and then take physical check up by checking:
- Neurological exam
- Mental status
- Memory check up
- Cranial nerve check up
- Reflex action
- Response to pain
- Vision, hearing, tongue, smell, facial expression, muscle strength checks everything
However, if confusion still does not solve, then doctor goes for advanced check up by using advanced medical equipment such as:
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) Scan
- Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) Scan
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
- Surgical Biopsy
Treatment of Brain Tumour:
Treatment of brain tumour depends upon the type, size, and grade of brain tumour; if it is not much severing or in an initial stage, then medication is the best choice.
However, if it is increased in size, then doctors prefer following options:
- Radiation Therapy: Under radiation therapy, doctor uses high-energy rays to damage the brain tumour cell.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is one of the most effective methods of treatment, as it restrains fast cell division. Over period of time, it destroys the abnormal cell and lessens the tumour size.
- Surgery: With the help of surgery, doctor removes the tumour without damaging the vital part of the brain.
Prevention of Brain Tumour:
Since the cause is not exactly known, hence we cannot take any prevention as such. However, as the risk factor discussed above, if you have any such kind of risk factor, get it diagnosed through proper medical check-up of your brain and obey the doctor’s prescription whether brain tumour is identified.
Besides, practice of following tips help you to live healthy:
- Eat healthy
- Brain exercise by playing game, puzzle, etc
- Physical exercise
- Sound sleep