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Carcinosin Brain 30C

Brain Cancer Overview


Cancers of the brain are abnormal growths of cells in the brain.

  • Although such growths are popularly called brain tumors, not all brain tumors are cancer. Cancer is a term reserved for malignant tumors.

  • Malignant tumors grow and spread aggressively, overpowering healthy cells by taking their space, blood, and nutrients. (Like all cells of the body, tumor cells need blood and nutrients to survive.)

  • Tumors that do not spread aggressively are called benign.

  • In general, a benign tumor is less serious than a malignant tumor. But a benign tumor can still cause many problems in the brain.

Primary tumors

The brain is made up of many different types of cells.

  • Some brain cancers occur when one type of cell transforms from its normal characteristics. Once transformed, the cells grow and multiply in abnormal ways.

  • As these abnormal cells grow, they become a mass of cells, or tumor.

  • Brain tumors that result from this transformation and abnormal growth of brain cells are called primary brain tumors because they originate in the brain.

  • The most common primary brain tumors are gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (medulloblastomas). The term glioma includes astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas, and choroid plexus papillomas.

  • Most of these primary tumors are named after the part of the brain or the type of brain cell from which they arise.


Brain Cancer Causes


As with tumors elsewhere in the body, the exact cause of most brain tumors is unknown. Genetic factors, various environmental toxins, radiation, and cigarette smoking have all been linked to cancers of the brain, but in most cases, no clear cause can be shown.

The following factors have been proposed as possible risk factors for primary brain tumors. Whether these factors actually increase the risk of a brain tumor is not known for sure.


Brain Cancer Symptoms


Not all brain tumors cause symptoms, and some (such as tumors of the pituitary gland) are found mainly after death. The symptoms of brain tumors are numerous and not specific to brain tumors, meaning they can be caused by many other illnesses as well. The only way to know for sure what is causing the symptoms is to undergo diagnostic testing.

  • The symptoms are caused by the tumor pressing on or encroaching on other parts of your brain and keeping them from functioning normally.

  • Some symptoms are caused by swelling in the brain caused by the tumor or surrounding inflammation.

  • The symptoms of primary and metastatic brain cancers are similar.

The following symptoms are most common:

  • Headache

  • Weakness

  • Clumsiness

  • Difficulty walking

  • Seizures

Other nonspecific symptoms and signs include the following:

  • Altered mental status: changes in concentration, memory, attention, or alertness

  • Nausea, vomiting: especially early in the morning

  • Abnormalities in vision

  • Difficulty with speech

  • Gradual changes in intellectual or emotional capacity

In many people, the onset of these symptoms is very gradual and may be overlooked by both the person with the brain tumor and the family. Occasionally, however, these symptoms appear more rapidly. In some instances, the person acts as if he or she is having a stroke.

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