Grading of brain cancer is entirely different as compared to the staging of other cancers in the body. Cancer in the breast, lung, colon etc. are staged depending on the possible spread, location of a tumor and lymph node involvement etc. However, brain tumors are graded based on the aggressiveness of the tumor cells under a microscope. The resect ability and the grade of the tumor cells guide a doctor on the treatment decisions. The decision of a brain surgery depends on factors such as the location, spread of a tumour and the general health of the patient.
Types of Brain Tumor Grading:
Grade 1 tumor- These sets of tumors are medically known as the juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma and subependymoma. They are slow growing and non-invasive. There is a likelihood of the patient getting cured with surgery.
Grade 2 tumor- These are brain tumors that do not possess dead cells as part of the tumour. But, they do portray a lot of abnormal cells. Tumors of this type can be categorized under oligodendroglioma, astrocytoma, and ependymoma.
Grade 3 tumor- Tumors of this type are graded based on the cell type of the cancer cells. For instance, an anaplastic astrocytoma is a grade 3 tumor that has no dead cells but possesses dividing cells. In contrast, anaplastic ependymoma and anaplastic oligodendroglioma are grade 3 tumor cells that have dead cells in them.
Grade 4 tumor- Tumors of this type are referred to as glioblastoma. The tumor cells are actively dividing, the growth of blood vessels is witnessed and areas of dead tissue keep expanding.
Surgery- If the location of a brain tumor is such that it is accessible to a surgeon, the latter goes ahead and removes most of the tumor if not the whole. If, however, the brain tumor cells are placed very near to the surrounding very sensitive brain tissues, a doctor might remove a small portion of the tumor to curb its growth.
Radiation Therapy- This mode of treatment uses high energy X-ray beams to kill targeted cells of the brain. External beam radiation usually targets a small area of the brain. A whole brain radiation, on the other hand, is usually employed when a tumor has spread to most parts of the brain. Radiotherapy is now so evolved that it is highly targeted to tutor cells that kills cancer and spares normal brain.
Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy employs drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can either be taken in the form of an IV or in the form of pills. The dosage of chemotherapy is decided based on the concentration of cancer cells, spread frequency, platelet count of the patient etc. The most common chemotherapy drug that is prescribed by doctors to fight cancer cells is temozolomide.
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