Brain cancer is a disease caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the brain, which affects the normal functioning of the brain. There are two types of brain cancer. Primary brain cancer, and secondary brain cancer. Primary brain cancer starts from the brain while secondary brain cancer starts from somewhere else, then spreads to the brain. Primary brain tumor rarely goes beyond the central nervous system. As such, death results from the pressure caused by the uncontrolled growth of tumors within the limited space.
There are different types of primary tumors. These include Pituitary adenomas, these tumors develop from the pituitary glands. Meningiomas, Tumors develop from the membrane surrounding the brain .Medulloblastomas, this is most common in children. It starts from the lower back part of the brain and spreads through the spinal fluid.
Secondary brain cancer also called metastatic brain tumors is made up of cancerous cells that form in other body parts then spread to the brain through a process known as Metastasis. Some of the most common sources include breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, etc.
There are some factors that cause the brain cancer. Including:-
- DNA Mutation – A change in cell structure causes the inability of cells to die. Cells start multiplying at high speeds and have no space thus start accumulating in one location resulting in tumors. These abnormal cells start infecting other surrounding cells making them cancerous.
- Age and gender – Though all individuals are prone to getting a brain tumor, the rate of occurrence is more in the older people as opposed to the young. Men are also at a higher risk of suffering from brain cancer as opposed to their female counterparts.
- Heredity – Genetic factors also play a significant role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to the disease. Children born of cancer patients are more prone to brain cancer.
- Medical conditions – It has been found that certain medical conditions increase an individual’s chances of getting brain cancer. Such conditions include Neurofibromatosis, Turcot syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, Li- Fraumeni syndrome, among others.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
It may be hard for one to detect brain cancer, especially in its early stages as it portrays characteristics of other diseases. However, there are some common symptoms of brain cancer, which if they persist, medical advice should be acquired. Numerous factors can cause symptoms of brain cancer. One main reason is the development of a tumor in the brain, which pressing against it or by the swelling or inflammation of the brain. Examples of these common symptoms are constant headaches and visual impairment.
Treatment for brain tumor depends on various factors such as tumor size, type, location, the age of the patient, among others. Brain tumor treatment usually includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is the most common method of treating brain tumor. The damaging brain cells are removed through a surgical process called craniotomy. If the tumor cannot be removed through surgery, then radiotherapy or chemotherapy is used. Radiotherapy mainly involves the use high-energy rays to kill tumors. The damaging brain cells are prevented from increasing through the use of radiation. Radiotherapy is usually done in case some tumors remain after surgery. This therapy can either be administered internally, through the use of radioactive capsules which are placed inside the tumor, or externally, by use of high- energy beams. Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to kill cancerous cells. These drugs can be administered orally or injected into the muscles or blood stream. These drugs have however been known to portray side- effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of hair, mouth sores, among others.
If detected at an early stage, brain cancer can be treated by use of any proper medication. For patients who are terminally ill, good care and support should be given as they may probably have a very short time to live.