Brain Cancer overview
Brain cancer is a type of cancer that is characterized by tumors forming in the brain and impacting overall function. There are a wide variety of different types of brain tumors, and not all of them are cancerous. While it can develop in your brain, many people with brain cancer first developed the condition in another part of the body. Treatment options will vary depending on the size and location of the tumor.
The signs and symptoms of brain cancer will significantly depend on where it’s located, what type of cancer it is, and how far developed it is. Generally speaking, signs of a brain tumor include new or changing-pattern of headaches, unexplained nausea, blurry or double vision, and gradual loss of sensation in the limbs.
Others will experience trouble balancing or speaking, while some may not have those problems, but will become increasingly confused by things in the world around them. Brain cancer can even commonly alter personality and cause frequent seizures.
A major complication of all types of cancer is the risk of the disease spreading to other parts of the body. While it commonly happens in the other direction in the case of brain cancer, cancerous brain tumors can spread throughout the body. Once you develop cancer, even if it goes into remission, you’ll face a higher chance of occurrence for the rest of your life. This makes yearly screening a standard plan for those who have had cancer.
Cancer is caused when healthy cells develop mutations in their stored DNA. When this information becomes damaged, the cells may stop functioning properly and instead proliferate at an unsustainable rate. The new cancer cells damage healthy ones wherever they go, increasing complications.
The primary risk factors for brain cancer are not clear. That said, researchers have identified a couple of things that could increase your chances of developing a brain tumor. Exposure to certain types of radiation, such as ionizing radiation, is known to increase the risk of brain cancer. Family history is another risk factor for a tumor, although researchers still haven’t identified any specific genes.
Brain tumors are quite common, as reports suggest around 700,000 Americans are currently living with one. Luckily, 70% of these cases are benign, leaving only about 30% cancerous. Approximately 86,000 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumor this year, over 26,000 of which will be brain cancer.
Brain tumors, even when not cancerous, can still be quite dangerous. This danger increases dramatically if the tumor in question is malignant, with survival rates only around 35%. As such, if you’re worried you or a loved one could be suffering from a brain tumor, be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Only they can accurately diagnose the problem and get you on the best path forward.