- What is brain cancer?
- Symptoms of tumors located in different brain regions
- What to do in case of first signs of brain cancer
- Diagnostic procedures in case of brain diseases
What is brain cancer?
Brain cancer is represented by malignant intracranial tumors. They derive from cells of brain tissue which grow and divide quickly.
Risk factors and causes of brain cancer
Causes of a sudden division of cells are different in primary and secondary cancer. The secondary one is 10 times often diagnosed. They are cancer cells which spread to the brain and other organs.
A primary tumor appears in the brain tissues. Exact causes of its development are still unclear. There are such risk factors:
- hereditary background
- influence of chemicals
- disorders of prenatal development
- impact of radiation
- age (some types appear only at a certain age).
A disease may appear in a person with weaken the immune system, traumas of the head, infections, some of them can affect the nervous system.
Types of malignant neoplasms
A type of malignant brain neoplasm is defined according to its location and cells.
Intracranial tumors are located deeply in the tissue. They derive from glial cells. Among them are glioma, astrocytoma, glioblastoma.
Intraventricular tumors are formed in the ventricles (craniopharyngioma, ependymoma).
Extracerebral tumors appear in the brain lining and nerves. The most spread ones are a meningioma, schwannoma.
The location of the affected area determines which signs appear in a person.
Brain cancer does not have divisions according to the stages. It differs depending on malignant cells grade. Stages 1 and 2 are represented with benign neoplasms which grow slowly. Malignant is considered tumors at stages 3-4. They spread quickly and affect neighboring tissues.
Prognosis for brain cancer
Prognosis for oncological disease depends on its stage. 80% of patients with brain cancer stage 1-2 live over 5 years without relapse in case of timely surgery. At stage 4, only 7% of patients can survive.
Symptoms of tumors in different brain regions
What are the general signs?
The signs below are common for children and adults. They can have different intensity depending on individual human peculiarities.
- A headache. A person feels a strong pain in the morning. It can appear together with nausea and vomiting which do not bring any relief.
- Psychological disorders. A patient notices a short-term memory loss, difficulty of speech, unreasonable aggressiveness or depression.
- Vision disorders appear as a result of internal pressure on eyes. The objects seem indistinct and muted.
- Convulsions. They may manifest as twitching of the hands or feet. Sometimes accompanied by a contraction of the muscles of the whole body and loss of consciousness. The appearance of an oncological disease can be considered convulsions, which are repeated more than 2 times.
- Other symptoms: sleep disorders, fatigue, change of the sensitivity of some skin areas.
Symptoms of frontal lobe damage
- personality changes;
- behavior changes;
- apathy, depression;
- irritability and unreasonable aggression;
- a weakness of the muscles of the face and body;
- change gait;
- loss of smell;
- problems with vision or speech.
Symptoms of parietal lobe damage
- difficulties in speaking and understanding of information;
- disturbance of handwriting;
- problems in reading;
- loss of sensation in some parts of the body.
Symptoms of temporal lobe cancer
- difficulties in finding the right words;
- memory impairment;
- convulsions, which are accompanied by unusual sensations or smells;
- audible hallucinations.
Symptoms of occipital lobe cancer
- visual hallucinations;
- impaired perception of color;
- visual fatigue;
Symptoms of the ventricles affection
- headaches with a quick turn of the head;
- loss of consciousness;
- fear attack;
- asymmetry of the muscles of the face;
- impaired swallowing;
- disturbance of coordination and movement.
Symptoms of neoplasm in posterior cranial fossa
Symptoms of brainstem cancer
- the shakiness of gait;
- muscle weakness;
- disorders of the heart work;
- difficult breathing.
Signs of the "Turkish saddle" area damage
- hormonal disorders;
- visual impairment.
Who specializes in brain cancer treatment?
Most of the symptoms can be caused by the neurological disorder, not cancer. So, it is necessary to consult with a neurologist. He makes an examination, asks questions about the health conditions and explains which tests must be done. The main method for diagnosing of neoplasm in the brain is MRI. It accurately determines the presence of the tumor, its location, and size. Then a patient may need a consultation with oncologist or neurosurgeon.
Diagnostic procedures of oncological brain diseases
Diagnosis is carried out on an outpatient basis. It lasts 4-5 days.
The program includes:
- blood test;
- MRI with or without contrast;
- CT scan;
- SPECT-scanning (allows to distinguish the degree of malignancy);
- electroencephalography (measures the activity of different parts of the brain);
- angiography (examination of blood vessels).
Additionally, a biopsy can be conducted. It is a surgical procedure. A patient should stay several days in the ward under the supervision of a doctor.
A patient needs to make a diagnosis as soon as symptoms of cancer appear. A small formation that does not affect neighboring tissues is easier to remove by surgery without complications.