Brain cancer is caused by abnormal growths on different cells of the brain, called brain tumors. Brain cancer can be spread from cancer in other parts of the body or organs, which are called metastatic brain cancers, as well as those forming directly on the blood vessels or membranes of the brain. Most brain cancers start with tumors on the brain, but not all brain tumors will be malignant and cause cancer. Someone with a malignant tumor in their brain is at a higher risk of getting brain cancer. Benign tumors in the brain will usually need to be removed, though they aren’t as serious and usually don’t lead to brain cancer, though someone with brain cancer can also have benign (non-cancerous) tumors.
Types of Brain Tumors
There are many different types of brain tumors, most of which are considered primarily brain tumors that cause brain cancer. These include gliomas, pituitary adenomas, meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, primitive neuroectodermal tumors and primary CNS lymphomas. Different grades of tumors will cause a different risk level for brain cancer, ranging from Grade 1 which is a benign tumor and has very low risk up to Grade 4 which is an advanced malignant tumor at a very high risk of brain cancer.
Causes of Brain Cancer
Most tumors and cancers of the body have no one cause or the cause is unknown, which is also true of brain cancer. Some factors tend to raise the risk of brain cancer however, including a close relative with brain or other similar cancers o tumors, radiation to the head, having an HIV or AIDS infection, smoking cigarettes often and for a long period of time and exposure to certain environmental toxins such as embalming chemicals, rubber industry chemicals and oil refinery chemicals.
Symptoms of Brain Cancer
Signs and symptoms of brain cancer vary, as do most cancers, and not everyone with brain cancer will experience these symptoms. It should also be noted that these symptoms can also be experienced without having a brain tumor or brain cancer of any kind but are also commonly felt by people who do have brain cancer. Common symptoms for brain cancer include headaches, dizziness, body weakness, clumsiness and difficulty walking or standing up straight, seizures, a sudden change in mental status including lack of concentration, memory, alertness or attention, vision impairment such as loss of peripheral vision and double vision, nausea and vomiting often early in the morning, speech impairment and slow and gradual changes in a person’s emotional or intellectual capacity.
Treating Brain Cancer
There are a variety of treatment options for brain cancer, which vary based on the individual and the type of brain cancer they have. The person’s age, type and grade of the tumor, size of the tumor and their overall health are taken into account when deciding on proper treatment options. The main courses of treatment for brain cancer are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery to remove the tumors. Most likely, more than to treat the cancer.