Let’s go gray in May for National Brain Cancer & Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Did you know that about 17,000 people every year in the U.S.  are diagnosed with cancer that began in or next to the brain?

Unfortunately brain cancer is also the number one cause of cancer death in children.

Many people with brain tumors are diagnosed after going to the doctor for symptoms such as headaches.
It is very important to learn and be attentive of symptoms and steps to diagnose and treat tumors.
Symptoms of a brain tumor can be general or more specific.

Many of the general symptoms include:

-Headaches which are usually the first symptom

-Seizures

-Loss of sensation to vision, smell, hearing

-Memory changes, forgetfulness

-Fatigue

-Nausea/ Vomiting

-Depression and Anxiety

 

More of the specific symptoms may include:

-Headache or a pressure near the tumor

-Partial or complete loss of vision caused by the tumor

-Loss of balance

-Changes in speech, hearing, retrieving words and trouble understanding

– Changes in judgement, sluggishness, and muscle weakness could also be associated with a tumor

 

Some brain tumors can grow slowly and they may enlarge before causing any symptoms. Others grow quick and cause many symptoms suddenly. Brain tumors are classified by types of cells within the tumor. Every type of brain tumor grows and is treated differently. Cancers that metastasize or spread to the brain are called Metastases. Many types of cancer may also spread to the brain such as lung cancer, breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, leukemia, lymphoma and malignant melanoma.

It is very important to get the most accurate diagnosis possible if you have a brain tumor. A Biopsy is almost always needed to be able to diagnose the brain tumor. The doctor takes a small sample of tissue to test. Imaging test may also be used. These include: CT scan, MRI, PET.

Treatment options can include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Depending on the type of cancer and location your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it.

Surgery is usually the first treatment for brain tumors. It includes the removal of the tumor although complete removal is not always possible. Surgery may however relieve symptoms, help reduce the size of the tumor and help the doctors decide what other treatments will be needed.

Radiation therapy is used to stop or slow the growth of the brain tumors that can’t be removed with surgery. Basically, Radiation therapy is the use of high energy x-rays or other particles used to destroy tumor cells.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy tumor cells usually stopping the cancer cells abilities to grow and divide. Chemotherapy is often not as effective for brain cancer as some other types of cancer. This is due to the blood-brain barrier, small blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord which protect the brain from harmful substances. These may act as a shield against Chemotherapy drugs. Chemo may also be used in conjunction or after radiation therapy.

Survival rates for brain cancer vary widely by age with younger patients tending to have a better outlook than older patients. Location of the tumor and size as well as age and whether the tumor can be removed are factors in determining the person’s outlook.

 

05/04/17 | 0 comments | in Uncategorized

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