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Transcript of Brain Cancer
of those with brain cancer will have seizures sooner or later
In 1972 as a sophomore in high school, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was attached to the outlet of the pineal gland near the brain stem. In 1972 there were no MRI's or other soft tissue imaging for detection. Discovery was made by drilling 2 holes in the top of my skull and probing with needles. After it was discovered, I had lots of radiation therapy, lost all my hair but ultimately survived. I've had some long term side effects from the procedures but have ultimately lived a normal life.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
does Brain Cancer Affect?
Vol LXXXII, No. 101
What is Brain Cancer?
people develop brain cancer every year
Symptoms vary depending on where and how big the tumour is in the brain. Some brain cancers can produce some or even no symptoms at all. These symptoms cannot determine whether someone has brain cancer because people who know for a fact that they do not have brain cancer, can experience these symptoms. Below are some common symptoms of brain cancer:
Treatments vary according to the cancer type, grade, size and location of the tumour in the brain, patient's age and general health status.
The nervous system is made up of our central nervous system (made up of the brain and spinal cord) and our peripheral nervous system (made up of the nerves and
). To put it simply, the nervous system's job is to send and receive messages, in order for it to control one's thoughts, movements and the five senses.
The nerve cells (neurons) in this system pass on information in the form of electrical signals by communicating with thousands of other nerve cells at special junctions through chemicals which bridge the gap between the cells.
In the central nervous system (CSN), the skin, joints and muscles send information to the spinal cord, which carries all the nerves that are in charge of one's movement. Through the spinal cord, the brain can receive messages directly from all over the body such as the ears, mouth, eyes and nose. These messages are used by the brain to help one react, remember, think and plan, and then send out the right instructions to their body.
In the peripheral nervous system (PSN), the nerves send information from all the senses and carry instructions from parts of the body such as the limbs to one's brain. The nerves control muscles and joints, while other parts of the PSN such as digestion and temperature control are controlled automatically by the autonomic nervous system.
An Overview of the System
National Brain Tumor Society
Brain cancer or brain tumour is the abnormal growth of cells in the brain in which cells grow, and reproduce by multiplying uncontrollably, interfering with brain functions such as muscle control, memory, sensation, etc.
As these cancer cells continue to grow, they become what is known as a tumour, a mass of cancer tissue, but not all brain tumours are cancerous.
The two main types of tumours in the brain are primary brain tumours which originate in the brain and, secondary (metastatic) brain tumours which originate in other parts of the body.
Benign and Malignant
Benign, in terms of tumours, means non-cancerous. Benign tumours have borders that are easy to distinguish from the rest of the brain, making it easy for
to cut them out during surgical therapy. Benign tumours have non-cancerous cells and therefore they grow slowly and do not affect nearby tissue. In some cases, the tumour can grow bigger than it normally would, leading to serious problems that will not
to other parts of the body.
Malignant in terms of tumours, means cancerous. Malignant tumours are more severe and aggressive compared to benign tumours because they are composed of cancer cells. Malignant tumours grow quickly, destroying nearby tissue and creating pressure within the brain. Malignant tumours can metastasize to other parts of the body. It is difficult to tell the tumour's borders apart from the surrounding brain. A malignant tumour can reoccur after it has been removed.
different types of brain tumours
of people diagnosed with malignant brain tumours alone, survive for 5 or more years
in the UK
drowsiness and/or confusion
vomiting (usually in the morning)
blurry vision, double vision, hallucinations or fogginess
difficulty walking and clumsiness
change in one's alertness, memory, mental capacity
Central Nervous System
Peripheral Nervous System
: Twelve nerves that originate in the brain.
: Structures composed of many neurons (nerve cells).
: A malignant tumour in the nervous tissue.
A benign tumour (most of the time) in the brain.
: Metastatic growths.
: The action of a cancer spreading to other places in the body.
: A surgeon who performs surgery on the nervous system.
Example of one type of abnormal or cancerous cell
: By performing surgery on the brain, the patient will either have:
the entire tumour removed if it is benign
a definite diagnosis
a smaller tumour
the growth of the tumour set back
Sometimes, due to the location of the tumour, the neurosurgeon may unintentionally damage some brain tissue. During the surgery, the neurosurgeon creates an opening in the scalp and uses a special saw-like instrument to take out a piece of bone from the skull and remove as much tumour as he/she can. The surgeon may command the patient who is awake, to tell a story, count, say the alphabet or move a leg during the surgery in order for the neurosurgeon to protect important parts of the brain. After the surgery, the surgeon covers up the opening with the bone or a piece of metal/fabric and then, closes the slit in the scalp.
: Sometimes, if people cannot have surgery, they undergo radiation therapy instead. During this therapy, high-energy x-rays kill brain tumour cells. There are two types of radiation therapy to treat brain tumours, internal and external radiation therapy. For external radiation therapy, one goes to a hospital or clinic where a large machine outside the body would aims beams of radiation at the tumour, nearby tissue or even the whole brain. This is because of the possibility of cancer cells invading normal tissue around the tumour. Internal radiation therapy is uncommon for treating brain tumours. The therapy has radiation from small implants of radioactive material called seeds which are put in the brain for months where they give off radiation. They do not have to be removed after all the radiation is gone.
: During chemotherapy, drugs which kill cancerous cells are given orally, by vein, or in wafers that are placed in the brain. Chemotherapy either cures the cancer, controls it, or eases the symptoms.
Wafers in the Brain
The wafers which are put in the brain are the size of a dime. During a period of over several weeks, the wafers dissolve, releasing the drug which kills cancer cells in the brain. The drug may also prevent a tumour from recurring after surgical therapy has been done.
Intake through Mouth or Vein
The drugs are taken in pills, capsules or liquid that go through the mouth or go directly into a vein where they enter the bloodstream and go through the body.
of all other cancers later develop a brain metastases
Brain cancer is very common among children (age 15 and under) and young adults (age 15-24) although anyone can develop the disease. As one gets older, their risk of getting a brain tumour increases, especially those who are above the age of 45.
Males are more likely to develop brain cancer compared to females. According to
Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013
, 46% of males and 41% of females will develop cancer. Some types of brain tumours such as
, are more likely to occur in females.
Race and ethnicity:
White people are more likely to develop brain cancer compared to Black or Asian people.
In some cases like in the USA, Black people have a higher risk of developing a certain brain tumour know as meningioma, but are less likely to contract
, a brain tumour which has a higher chance of being developed by White people.
In Canada, the incident rates of people developing brain cancer goes down as you head west with Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces having the highest rates and British Columbia having the lowest.
Also, Northern Europeans have more than twice the risk of developing brain cancer compared to Japanese people.
Body size and exercise:
People that are overweight have a higher chance of developing meningioma compared to smaller people, but that does not affect their risk of getting glioma.
People who are tall have a higher chance of developing the disease, but researchers are not 100% sure about this.
A baby weighing four kilograms or more at birth will have a small increased chance of developing a brain tumour compared to a baby weighing under four kilograms.
Also, people who are exposed to chemicals,
, have the habit of smoking, have a viral infection such as HIV, use cell phones and/or hair dye or etc., have a higher chance of developing brain cancer. Only about 5% of brain tumours are caused by heriditary factors (genetics).
Davis, C.P. (n.d.).
Brain Cancer Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Diagnosis, Prognosis and Facts
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Who Am I?. (n.d.).
How does you nervous system work?
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Who Am I?. (n.d.).
What does the central nervous system do?
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What does the peripheral nervous system do?
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How does a brain tumor affect the body?
Retrieved February 25, 2014, from
Brain cancer affects one's whole body because the brain is what controls everything in one's body
of brain ca
ncer vary according to their location in the central nervous system. Here are just some of the ways brain cancer
affects one's body.
In the parts of the brain that control movement or sensation, tumours may cause weakness or numbness.
Speech problems and even understanding words are the effects of a tumour located in the part of the brain that is in charge of language.
Tumours can sometimes affect thinking and personality, if it is located in the front part of the brain.
Tumours in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia typically cause abnormal movements and an abnormal positioning of the body.
The cerebellum controls coordination. A person with a tumour in the cerebellum might have difficulty with walking or other everyday functions, as well as eating.
Tumours located in the back of the brain can cause trouble with one's eyesight .
Tumours located in
might cause loss of hearing, balance problems, weakness of some facial muscles, or trouble swallowing.
Tumours located in the spinal cord can lead to numbness, weakness, or lack of coordination in the arms and/or legs, as well as bladder or bowel problems.
The 12 Cranial Nerves