Brain cancer is a disease of the brain in which cancer cells (malignant cells) arise in the brain tissue. Cancer cells grow to form a mass of cancer tissue (tumor) that interferes with brain functions such as muscle control, sensation, memory, and other normal body functions. Tumors composed of cancer cells are called malignant tumors, and those composed of mainly non-cancerous cells are called benign tumors. Cancer cells that develop from brain tissue are called primary brain tumors while tumors that spread from other body sites to the brain are termed metastatic or secondary brain tumors.
Brain cancer is actually the abnormal growth and uncontrolled growth of the cancer cells in the brain,that forms a tumor in the brain.Tumours can be either benign or malignant.
Benign brain tumours are abnormal collections of cells that reproduce slowly and usually remain separate from the surrounding normal brain.
Malignant tumours reproduce and grow quickly. Their borders are hard to distinguish from the normal brain around them.
There are few early symptoms of brain cancer, but as the tumour grows within the confines of the skull, it causes increased intracranial pressure and exerts pressure on the brain, causing signs to develop.
Brain cancer symptoms and signs are varied and depend on the area of the brain involved, but can include:
Difficulty walking or clumsiness.
Changes in alertness.
Brain cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the brain that form a malignant brain tumor. The underlying cause of primary brain cancer, cancer that begins in the brain, is not known. Secondary brain cancer is caused by a cancer of another organ in the body, such as the breast, prostate, kidney, skin, or bone, that has spread to the brain.
What are the risk factors for brain cancer?
Personal history of cancer or family history of brain cancer
Impaired immune system
Radiation therapy of the head
Surgery is the main form of treatment for brain tumors that lie within the membranes covering the brain or in parts of the brain that can be removed without damaging critical neurological functions. The goal is to remove the entire tumor, whenever possible, as a tumor may recur if any tumor cells are left behind. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are generally used as secondary treatment for tumors that cannot be cured through surgery alone.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a treatment option that delivers a high concentration of radiation directly to the tumor in order to stop its growth, while delivering only a minimal dose of radiation to the surrounding tissue. Unlike conventional surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery does not require making an incision to remove the tumor. It can be especially effective in patients with many small metastatic brain tumors.
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