Brain Cancer: Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

What is Brain Cancer?

The Brain is the most important organ of the Human Body. It is the highly developed brain who distinguishes us from other animals. Brain is thus the most precious gift of life to humankind. Like all other types of cancer, Brain Cancer is nothing but an abnormal growth of cells. These cells could either be benign which are non-cancerous cells or malignant which are cancerous cells.  Brain Cancer is popularly known as Brain tumor. The tumor may either start to develop in the brain and then spread to other organs or start to develop in other organs and slowly spread to the brain.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Cancer:

The signs and symptoms of Brain Cancer depend upon and vary according to the size of the tumor, the location of the tumor and the rate at which the cells of the tumor are growing. Following are the signs you need to look out for to identify Brain Cancer:

1. Seizures due to brain cancer:

Seizures means involuntary movements occurring in different parts of the body. The brain controls the movements of the parts of our body. During a seizure, the brain has no control over these movements. This is due to the irritation from the tumor. The tumor makes the brain’s neuron fire uncontrollable thus disturbing the signal carrying process. This is one of the first signs of a brain cancer.

2. Clumsiness:

You may notice that you suddenly lose grip over something you’ve held for some time or you have lost balance or you may be fumbling with your keys. These incidences may appear more often than normal. Since brain is the center for controlling all activities of the body, you may feel clumsy due to the brain cancer. It affects your arms, legs, your hands and fingers.

3. Numbness or Loss of Feeling:

You may feel like a part of your body doesn’t exist at all. If the tumor develops in the brain stem which is the region where the brain connects the spinal cord, you may be losing feeling of a part of your face or one of your hands or legs.

4.Nausea due to Brain Cancer:

You may feel uneasy, queasy, sick in the mouth for no reason whatsoever. This is a very common feeling and could happen to anybody. Thus a comparatively difficult sign to notice.

5. Changes in Memory and Thinking Pattern:

Changes in a person’s behavior is a common problem. The affected person may seem to have difficulty in remembering incidents, issues, may feel confused and may also feel disassociated with events.

6. Changes in the Vision:

The patient may get episodes of blurry visions. These situations may worsen because sometimes the patient may also feel he/she has lost balance. In such scenarios, the affected person may feel dizzy and may also fall.

7. Headaches:

One does have headaches during brain cancer but it is not an early sign and symptom to look out for. This happens at a fairly later stage of expansion of the tumor. These headaches may become from less to more severe and intolerable gradually.

8. Speech Difficulties:

The person may find it more difficult to locate words for a normal conversation. The patient often finds it difficult to speak and ends up stuttering and stammering. This is not usually the case but has started to occur because of the tumor developments.

9. Confusion due to Brain Cancer:

Slowly, the brain tumor expands and affects a person’s cognitive capabilities. He/She may be unable to understand the situations and evaluate them. Decision making becomes almost impossible. They feel confused or unsure about situations and past or present events.

Causes of Brain Cancer:

A person who has been diagnosed with such a serious disease may surely want to find out what went wrong exactly to have caused this to him/her. Well, there haven’t been many satisfactory answers to this question. Head injuries, stress, etc have not been able to be identified as a cause so far.

While Brain Cancer could happen to anybody regardless of their lifestyle or habits, scientists have been able to identify two reasons for this disease. The two causes of brain cancer are as under:

1. Ionizing Radiation:

Ionizing radiation from high dose x-rays and other such sources can cause cell damage that leads to a tumor. These exposures may be due to radiation therapy from a large machine aimed at the head. People exposed to ionizing radiation may have an increased risk of a brain tumor, such as meningioma or glioma.

2. Family History/ Genetic Factors:

There are very rare families that have a history of Brain Cancer running through in their genes. However, genes do play an important role in deciding the chances of a person contracting brain tumor. Those with a family history are at a considerably higher risk than those without a history of contracting brain cancer.

Diagnosis of Brain Cancer:

After the doctor has noticed the symptoms of a tumor in your brain, he may set forth and make the necessary examinations to ascertain his doubt. The following are the diagnostic techniques used by doctors to find out the presence of brain cancer:

1. Neurologic Examination:

After receiving your set of complaints, the doctor will examine your vision, the strength of your muscles, your ability to respond, your balancing capabilities and your reflexes. The doctor also examines your eyes to look for swelling caused by a tumor pressing on the nerve that connects the eye and the brain.

2. MRI:

It is a large machine that consists of a strong magnet which is connected to the computer. This machine takes detailed pictures of the parts of your brain. The doctor conducted this test may also inject a dye in your veins which enables them to see different tissues of the brain clearly.

3. CT Scan:

This test is similar to an MRI. It is like an X-ray machine that takes detailed pictures of your brain and helps you detect the abnormalities.

4. Angiogram:

The dye that is injected into the bloodstream makes the blood vessels of the brain visible on the x-ray. This enables the doctor to identify which blood vessels are fed upon by the tumor.

5. Spinal tap:

The space around the brain and the spinal cord is filled with a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid is extracted and is examined for any cancer cells or other problems.

6. Biopsy:

A biopsy is a process in which the tissues of the affected region are removed and examined under a microscope for presence of cancerous cells. This is the most determined method of diagnosis with sure results. It may also display the changes in the tissue that have developed due to cancer.

The reason that we list the most potent signs and symptoms for you is that you are quick at identifying the problem and waste no time taking it to your doctor. Diseases like Brain Cancer are often fatal and once the stages of the cancer advance, the damage that it could do the parts of your body becomes nearly irreparable. The sooner you identify the threat, the easier it is for the doctor to establish control and treat the disease. You may want to check out the list of top rated Cancer Hospitals in New York for the diagnosis and treatment of Brain Cancer.

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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