The brain is the major organ responsible for learning, memory, thought, speech, mood and behaviour If the brain declines in function, there may be lapses in memory and thought as well as changes in mood and behaviour. Our relationships and careers are based on learning, thought, memory, mood and behaviour This is why when the brain becomes ill it is a life-changing event.
Imagine the shock and grief of a person whose loved one suffers brain cancer! However, the truth is that brain cancer is a worldwide problem. It is said that in the year 2002, primary malignant brain and central nervous system cancers occurred in 3.7 of 100,000 males and in 2.6 of 100,000 females worldwide. The world population is 7,021,836,029 for mid-year 2011. There will be more victims of brain cancer. This is why we have to be alert for early symptoms of brain cancer so that further tests will be done and treatment will be given early.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of brain cancer usually depend on whether the brain tumour is malignant or benign. Benign brain tumours do not contain cancer cells and once they are removed, they usually do not go back. They also do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumours, on the other hand, contain cancer cells that grow at a rapid rate and invade nearby healthy brain tissue or the spinal cord. Unlike other cancers, brain cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Being benign or malignant depends on tumour grade and type of tumour. There are many types of brain cancer. Most primary brain tumours are gliomas, meaning they arise from glial cells.
Among adults, the most common types of brain cancer are astrocytomas, meningiomas or oligodendroglioma. Among children, the most common types are medulloblastomas, astrocytomas, ependymomas and brain stem gliomas. Symptoms of brain cancer may also depend on the size of the tumour and on the location of the tumour. Size is important because when the tumour is big enough to press on a nerve, symptoms are felt. Sometimes the tumour blocks flow of fluid in and out of the brain, causing brain swelling. This also causes symptoms.
The most common brain cancer symptoms are headaches which are usually worse during the morning. There may also be nausea and vomiting. If there are involvements in the speech, visual and hearing areas, there may be changes in vision, speech or hearing.
If motor areas are involved, there may be problems in walking or balancing and muscle jerks or twitches. Often times, there may be seizures or convulsions. In some, there may be problems in memory and changes in mood, behaviour and personality. There may even be numbness or tingling of extremities.
If these symptoms are felt, it is not right to assume that you have brain cancer outright. There may be other health problems causing these symptoms, so you should visit your doctor to be diagnosed of the real problem behind your symptoms. There are some people who are more likely to have an increased risk for brain cancer. People who are constantly exposed to ionising radiation such as high-dose x-rays and those with a family history of brain cancers can have a risk for acquiring brain cancer too. If these symptoms occur in these patients for a long time, then it is best to have them checked out by doctor.
This is a guest post by Daniel Vanderhoek who works for http://www.bcbraininjurylawyers.com/