Like most other organs of the human body, the brain too is susceptible to cancer. Brain cancer is typically the result of abnormal growth of primary brain cells or the spreading of cancer cells that originated in another organ of the body. This is known as secondary or metastatic brain cancer. Depending on the stage it is diagnosed in, brain cancer can be cured. Let’s take a closer look at primary brain cancer.
Primary brain cancer or the development of tumours in the brain is fairly uncommon. However, they may attack children and adults alike. There are many different types of brain tumours. Their names depend on the part of the brain affected or the type of cell they originate from. The most common types of brain tumors are meningiomas, gliomas, pituitary adenomas, primary CNS lymphomas, vestibular schwannomas and medulloblastomas. Each of these tumors grows at a different rate and causes different symptoms. However, they can all be graded on the same stages.
In this stage, the cell growth is usually very slow. These cells look very similar to normal brain cells and the tissue is benign.
When cancer reaches this stage, the cells begin to grow at a faster pace and look a little different from normal brain cells. The tissue also turns malignant at this point.
The abnormal cells or tumor begins to grow actively and take on a completely different look as compared to normal brain cells. These calls may also be termed as anaplastic.
This is the most aggressive stage of brain cancer. At this stage, the cells begin to grow at a very fast rate.
Treatment for brain cancer depends on a number of factors including the size of the tumor, cancer stage, patient’s overall health, age and any other medical issues that may be present. Brain cancer can be treated with drugs, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Two or more of these forms of treatment are usually used together for faster and better results.
Whenever possible, a doctor will try to remove the tumor surgically. This may be preceded by drugs to prevent seizures and relieve swelling in the brain. Patients who cannot undergo surgery may be given radiation instead. This form of therapy uses high energy rays to kill the cancer cells. Radiation may also be used after surgery to kill any abnormal cells that could not be removed surgically. Radiation for brain cancer may be given externally or internally. Chemotherapy can also be used to treat brain cancer. This involves delivering medication orally or intravenously to kill the tumors. Each cycle of chemotherapy usually lasts a few weeks and is followed by a rest period. The results of chemotherapy are usually visible after 2 or 4 cycles.
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