Cancer of the Brain
Brain cancer, also known as glioma and meningioma, is a form of cancer which is characterized by the abnormal proliferation of the cells in the brain or skull of an individual.
The most common cells that are affected by glioma include the astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and other brain cells. Deaths due to brain cancer have been increasing radically over the past few decades. According to a United Nations statistical report, brain cancer accounts for about 15 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide.
Types of Brain Cancer
Brain cancer is classified into two major categories, primary brain cancers and secondary or metastatic brain cancers. Primary brain cancers are a form of glioma in which the cancerous outgrowths originate in the cells of the brain or in the nearby membranes covering the brain, the pituitary glands and the cranial nerves.
Metastatic brain cancers are a form of cancer in which the cancerous outgrowths and cell proliferation take place in another part of the body and then spreads to the brain through the bloodstream.
Brain cancer occurs mainly due to mutations or deletions in a patient’s tumor suppressing genes. These cells control the cancerous outgrowths and help suppress tumors and cancers.
However when these cells undergo mutations due to exposure to chemicals such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), the cells change into a more virulent form and are unable to suppress the growth of malignant cells in the body.
Hereditary and certain genetic disorders also play a major role in the development of brain cancers in individuals. According to recent reports, about 1.5 percent of brain cancers develop in patients whose families have a past history of such cancers.
Also genetic disorders such as Von-Hippel syndrome increase the probability of developing glioma, although the exact reason for such increased probability is not clearly known.
Various other factors such as exposure to cigarette smoke and environmental pollution are often considered to be potent causes leading to brain cancer.
Age is also a risk factor. The risk of developing cancer increases with progressing age as the cells in the body degenerate and lose their capabilities to prevent cancerous outgrowths and uncontrolled proliferations.
Symptoms of Brain Cancer
The most common symptoms that are associated with brain cancer include memory loss, frequent mood changes, severe headaches which worsen in the mornings, frequent vomiting, and difficulties in speaking and thinking.
Drug therapy with corticosteroids and histamine inhibitors is one the most commonly used treatment forms for those suffering from brain cancer. Corticosteroids such as Decadron and Dexamethasone help reduce inflammation and pain.
Another drug called Avastin is commonly used and is generally injected into the patient’s vein. Avastin obstructs the blood supply to the cancer cells, and ultimately leads to their degeneration.
Surgical treatment is most commonly used to cure brain cancer patients. However surgery is generally performed when the cancer has not spread to other body parts.
The main objective of the doctors performing these surgeries is to remove the cancerous cells without damaging the healthy cells nearby.