Cancer of the Brain
Brain cancer is a rare disease effecting one out of every five-thousand people in the U.S. Eighty-five percent of cases occur in adults that are over the age forty and as for the other fifteen percent it is seen in children and young adults up to the age of twenty. Research has also found that more men are affected by brain cancer than women. There are two classifications of a brain tumor that are formed. One is called primary brain cancer. A primary brain tumor occurs when one type of cell changes it characteristics and multiplies in abnormal ways causing a tumor or mass to grow in the brain. The most common primary brain tumors are gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors. These brain tumors are called primary because they start and form in the brain. The second type of brain tumor is called metastatic brain cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are caused by cancerous cells in a tumor elsewhere in the body. These cancerous cells spread to the brain from a cancerous tumor in the body causing a cancerous tumor in the brain. This process is called metastasis. This process occurs in about twenty-five percent of tumors found in the body. There are many types of brain tumors. Not all tumors found in the brain are cancer. Tumors can be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer). A malignant tumor is a cancerous tumor that in some cases can spread to other parts of the brain. A benign tumor is a non-cancerous tumor found in the brain that does not spread. Just because a benign tumor is not cancer doesn’t mean it is not life threatening. Even with a benign tumor the skull cannot expand to accommodate for the mass growing inside. Even if a tumor is benign it still needs special treatment and care. Even if the tumor is not cancer at the time there is a chance some cases it can become malignant. Both malignant and benign tumors need treatment and removal. They are both considered life threatening. Symptoms vary depending on what part of the brain is being infected. The most common symptoms for both primary and metastatic brain cancer are weakness, change in personality and memory, difficulty walking, seizures, and headaches. These signs/changes are hard to describe and commonly go un-noticed. Headaches are one of the most common signs. These headaches are not always persistent or severe. Another more common sign is nausea and vomiting. The nausea and vomiting is not related to food. These signs occur in about twenty-five percent of people with a brain tumor. In many cases symptoms of brain cancer go un-noticed by the person with the brain tumor and their families. These symptoms will sometimes progress and become more noticeable as the caner progresses. There are many types of procedures used to identify brain tumors. A few of these procedures include X-rays, CT scan, EEG, and MRI. The most common type of procedure given is usually a CT scan. A CT scan is similar to an X-ray but gives more details in three dimensions. It is very important for a brain tumor to be diagnosed correctly. It has been found that people with brain tumors often have other medical problems and should have lab tests performed on them while being diagnosed. These lab tests include analysis if blood, electrolytes, liver function tests, and a blood coagulation profile. In some cases there is a change in your mental status blood and urine tests may be done to test for use of drugs. The course of the tumor and treatment is very different for each tumor. Every tumor is different and requires different treatment and care. Brain cancer is classified according to the type of cell in the tumor and its histological grade (meaning progress of the tumor and how different the tumor cells are from the cells near it). This is very important because the treatment depends on the cell type. Whether a tumor is malignant or benign they both are deadly...
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