A brain tumor can appear at any age, but the risk of pathology increases with age. Most brain tumors occur in people 45 years of age or older. A brain tumor is the 22nd most common cancer in the world, ranked 12th in mortality statistics. Brain tumors in frequency occupy the 5th place among tumors of other locations.
The main symptoms of brain cancer
- Headache is the most common initial symptom of a brain tumor. It can appear or intensify at night or in the morning, as well as during stress and physical exertion.
- A change in vision may indicate about this disease.
- Persistent feelings of nausea, anxiety, or poor feeling are associated with brain tumors.
- A feeling of weakness on one side of the body indicates a tumor in the frontal lobe of your brain. Most often, the tumor will be located on the opposite side, where you feel weak.
- If you are having trouble with memory, it could be causing a brain tumor. Short memory loss is usually more noticeable than memory loss that occurs over a long period of time.
- If you feel dizzy and have unusual sensations in your arms or legs, you should be concerned about the possibility of developing a brain tumor. There may also be difficulty controlling facial expressions, communication, and swallowing.
- Sudden convulsions or seizures that are caused by unusual electrical activity in the brain indicate cancer. Such symptoms are characterized by involuntary body movements and a change in consciousness.
The main types of brain cancer
- Glioma is the most common brain tumor, accounting for approximately 60%. It develops from glia – auxiliary cells of the nervous tissue. Glial tumors are the largest group of brain oncology.
- Ependymoma is a type of glial tumor that develops from a thin epithelial membrane lining the ventricles of the brain. It is prone to metastasis with cerebrospinal fluid flow. Ependymomas account for about 10% of all intracranial neoplasms. Ependymomas growing in the brain parenchyma are referred to as intracerebral tumors.
- Meningioma is the next most common brain tumor. It develops from the dura mater of the brain.
- Astrocytoma – arises from auxiliary brain cells.
- Oligodendroglioma – arises from glia oligodendrocytes (auxiliary cells of the nervous tissue), but there is evidence of a common origin with astrocytoma from common progenitor cells.
- Hemangioma – arises from the cells of brain vessels.
- Neuronal brain tumors – arise from gangliocytoma (benign), ganglioneuroblastoma and neuroblastoma.
- Embryonic types of brain tumors occur in utero. This is a rare but very dangerous type of tumor.
It is carried out by various methods:
- stereotactic radiosurgery is a method of radiation therapy, an alternative to traditional surgical treatment. To destroy a tumor, many radiation beams directed to one point (gamma knife) or one beam are used, the direction of which is constantly changing during the irradiation session, but it always passes through the tumor tissue. This allows you to deliver a large dose of radiation to a tumor without special radiation exposure to healthy tissues. Modern computer technologies in visualization make it possible to carry out such a “radio-surgical” operation very accurately. This method allows the doctor to carry out this operation without a scalpel and surgical complications, as well as to get to inaccessible brain tumors that were previously considered inoperable. In some cases, stereotactic radiosurgery may be the only possible treatment.
- endoscopic interventions are used in the presence of diseases such as cysts and hematomas (after traumatic brain injuries). Interventions are done without wide incisions, using a special endoscopic technique. It helps avoid trauma to small blood vessels and nerves. Such treatment methods allow you to deprive fluid of the ventricles of the brain in children with hydrocephalus (ventriculoscopy). An example of surgical treatment with this method is the transnasal removal of the pituitary adenoma: the endoscope is inserted through the nasal passage.
- radiation therapy is used only in cases when surgical treatment is impossible for one reason or another, for example, in the presence of concomitant diseases in the patient. In some cases, it can be used after surgery to reduce the risk of tumor recurrence and destroy possibly remaining tumor cells in the brain. Radiation therapy is carried out locally, that is, a certain part of the brain is irradiated, and not the whole brain. The radiation dose is selected by the doctor individually, depending on the size of the tumor, its composition, and depth. Depending on the types of tumors, various radiation therapy regimens are formed.
- chemotherapy refers to systemic methods of treatment since chemotherapy drugs affect the whole body, that is, both tumor cells and healthy ones. They use drugs of the alkylating group, antimetabolites, drugs of natural origin, antibiotics with antiblastic effect, synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs. Chemotherapy most often consists of the use of either one drug, or, more often, several, according to a certain scheme. Chemotherapy drugs can be administered both orally and intravenously. In some cases, they can be inserted through the cerebrospinal fluid shunt (hollow tube). The effectiveness of chemotherapy increases with its combination with radiation therapy, while the course should consist of several drugs. Chemotherapy is usually prescribed as cycles between which chemotherapy is not performed. Each such cycle of chemotherapy for a brain tumor lasts several weeks. Mostly 2-4 cycles of chemotherapy are carried out. Next, a break in treatment is taken to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
There are side effects after chemotherapy. These are nausea and vomiting. Doctors usually prescribe different medications like Zofran and many others. In any case, your doctor will detect the most suitable for your case drug.