Brain cancers result from abnormal cell growth in the brain. Brain cancers are those growths that are malignant in nature. While brain cancer is often used interchangeably with the term brain tumour, not all tumours are necessarily cancerous.
Brain cancers may occur within brain cells, or may also occur within other cells forming many of the other components found in the brain, such as blood vessels. Brain cancer may also result from metastasised cancers, that is, cancers that originated in other parts of the body, and that have since travelled to the brain.
The WHO recognise nine types of brain cancer. The category into which a particular brain cancer falls depends on in which type of cell the caner has originated. Gliomas are types of cancer that have their origin in the glial cells. Glial cells are important in supporting the brain’s nerve cells. Accounting for more than eighty percent of brain cancers are infilitrative astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiform. The remaining types of tumours can be categorised into “low grade” brain cancers or “high grade” brain cancers. High grade cancers have much lower survival rates than low grade tumours, and tend to be much more aggressive.
Survival rates in brain tumour vary according to the type of brain cancer, the location of brain cancer, the position of the brain cancer, and when the brain cancer was detected. Another factor depends on whether there are secondary cancers present. In addition, the age, background and overall health of a cancer patient will also affect their survival rates. The survival rate of brain cancer in children is approximately 60%.
Primary brain cancers often take years to develop to the point that the person experiencing the cancer begins to see symptoms. Some cancer, such as pituitary gland brain cancers don’t cause any symptoms at all. Symptoms are often varied depending on the type of brain cancer and where in the brain cancer is located. However, symptoms include: headaches, weakness, difficulty walking, and seizures. Other indicators of brain cancers include changes to a person’s mental state, nausea, and vision and speech impairments.
Treatment for brain cancers is often quite varied. Brain cancer treatments often depend not only on the type of brain cancer, the location of the brain tumour and how advanced the brain cancer is, but also on the individual attributes of the brain cancer sufferer. Common treatments for brain cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and tumour removal therapy. However, other types of alternative brain cancer treatment are available, and have been found to be efficacious in some patients. More information about these types of alternative brain cancer treatment is available on this site.