Our brains are the seat of all we are. Every thought and action we do is an outcome of our mind. So understandably the notion of an affliction striking the brain can be terrifying, and something you MUST check.
Brain cancer is a rare but devastating form of cancer accounting for 2% of all cancer cases worldwide. Brain cancer describes the abnormal growth and division of cells within the brain. Brain tumours can be either benign or cancerous and cancerous brain tumours are further divided into primary brain tumours that begin in the brain and secondary tumours that begin elsewhere in the body and spread (metastasize) to the mind.
Whether benign or a malignant tumour can raise the volume of the brain which creates pressure in the tight skull area. The bony skull is extremely stiff and hard. Any encroachment in this tight area increases intracranial pressure which can lead to brain damage, coma, and even death.
Types Of Brain Tumours
The first big classification of types of brain tumours is benign and malignant tumours. Benign brain tumours are the least aggressive and slowest growing tumours. They don’t have cancerous cells and have a good prognosis after treatment.
Malignant or cancerous brain tumours arise from brain cells, supportive cells, and other tissue found in and around the brain. Grading for tumours involves rating a growth on a scale of 1 to 4 with low-grade scores being 1 and 2, and 3 and 4 are high grade. Benign tumours are low grade that’s slow growing, included, less likely to spread, and unlikely to return after elimination. On the other hand, malignant or cancerous tumours are high grade so they are quickly growing, spread to surrounding tissues, and are more likely to return after removal.
Primary cancerous tumours originate within the brain itself while secondary tumours are due to metastasis from tumours in other organ systems, commonly from the lungs.
Primary tumours are rarer and the most frequent kinds of primary brain tumours are gliomas and meningiomas. Gliomas impact the glial cells which are supportive cells in the brain that provide nourishment and structural support for neurons. Gliomas account for 50 percent of all primary brain tumours.
The brain is a big and complicated organ. Symptoms of brain tumours are determined by the size, type, and location of a tumour. Some common signs and symptoms are:
Headaches, typically worse in the morning and progressively worsening over time.
Progressive body fatigue
Unexplained weight loss
Behavioural or mood changes
Confusion and memory impairment
Specific symptoms depend on the size of a tumour and its location. Based on this, some of the signs and symptoms which may be noticed are:
Personality changes, less inhibition, poor judgement, etc. in frontal lobe tumours
Language difficulties, poor memory, and hearing problems in temporal lobe tumours
Sensory disturbances, progressive muscle weakness, etc.. In parietal lobe tumours
Visual disturbances or loss of vision in occipital lobe tumours.
Loss of balance and coordination in cerebellar tumours.
Changes in respiration, blood pressure, and heartbeat in brain stem tumours
This is a brief overview of tumours in the major regions of the brain. As one goes more in depth an assortment of symptoms are available ranging from loss of speech comprehension to hallucinations.
Cause Of Brain Tumours
The root cause of brain cancer is not well known.
The two significant factors implicated in the development of brain tumours is genetics and exposure to radiation. Gene mutations, sequence deletions, and loss of tumour suppressor genes are believed to contribute to the reason for brain tumours. A family history of tumours also increases the risk of developing the conditions. Certain genetic disorders such as neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, and Turner’s syndrome are associated with a greater risk of developing brain tumours.
Exposure to ionising radiation has been associated with brain cancer especially in children. Exposure to Vinyl chloride, an industrial chemical used to manufacture PVC, has also been linked to brain cancer.
Other risk factors for brain cancer are:
Age- risk increases with age, except for some forms of brain cancer that are more prevalent in kids
Previous cancer diagnosis- a person who has had cancer elsewhere in the body is more at risk of developing brain cancer, particularly childhood cancer and blood cancers such as leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
HIV/AIDS- people with HIV/AIDS are twice as likely to develop brain cancer than the general population.
Treatment Of Brain Tumours
The plan of treatment for brain cancer depends on the size, grade, and location of a tumour in addition to overall patient health. Malignant brain tumours are usually surgically removed. But, surgical resection of an entire tumour may not always be feasible because of location or other factors like ease of accessibility.
Radiation therapy is another treatment option that’s usually used in the treatment of brain tumours. Radiation damages the DNA of cancer cells and stops their division and development.
Chemotherapy or anti-cancer drugs aren’t always used because the adrenal barrier prevents the transport of lots of these drugs to the brain from the bloodstream.
A number of experimental therapies are also in development.
Early therapy of tumours can prevent further complications. 15% of people with brain cancer will survive for 5 years or longer after diagnosis. Despite this, there is still hope. Prognosis is dependent upon a lot of factors. Knowing your risk and following up on suspicious symptoms can help in early identification. Stay alert to remain healthy.