Brain cancer is a disease in which particular cells in the brain grow and form a mass that interferes with the general functioning of the brain like muscle control, sensation, memory and such other functions that help you control your body. Tumors that are made up of cancerous cells grow and spread to other parts of the brain. These are called malignant tumors. Those tumors that are non cancerous, do not spread and are basically localized. These are called benign tumors. Primary tumors are those that develop in the brain cells. Secondary tumors are those that develop in other parts of the body and then spread to the brain. These are also called as metastatic tumors.
Brain cancer grades
There are four different classifications of brain cancers:
Grade I – Benign tumors with a slow growth rate. Look like normal brain cells.
Grade II – Malignant tumors that look less normal than Grade I tumors.
Grade III – Malignant tumors that look very different from normal cells. They grow actively and look distinctly abnormal.
Grade IV – Malignant tumors with distinctly abnormal looking cells that grow and spread rapidly.
Brain tumor cancer treatment
Brain cancer treatment approach is customized as per individual diagnosis. The treatments depend on the cancer type, the location in the brain, the size of the tumor and the age and general health of the patient.
The treatment options for brain tumors are categorized as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. As per individual diagnosis, a combination of any of the above mentioned methods is used.
With surgery, the tumor is cut away from normal tissues. This is an invasive approach to treat cancer. The other two methods are non invasive. Radiation therapy helps destroy the tumor with high energy radiation that is focused on the tumor to destroy the cells. It destroys the ability of the tumor to replicate and spread. Generally X – Rays or Gamma rays are used for this purpose. The radiation is highly focused and does not affect the healthy tissues surrounding the tumor.
In chemotherapy, certain drugs and medicines are used to destroy the tumor causing cells. There are many types of drugs used. These drugs are designed to fight different types of cancer cells. The entire procedure keeps the healthy cells safe from the effects of the drugs.
Some tumors are declared as inoperable because, surgically removing them can negatively impact other parts of the brain. The surgeon takes this call. However, it is very important to understand that one surgeon may declare a tumor inoperable, but another surgeon may be able to operate it. It’s a good idea to take a few opinions before giving up.
Other treatment options may include heat treatments and immunotherapy. For all the procedures mentioned, there are some side effects. With surgery, there could be swelling, a possible damage to healthy tissues or seizures. With chemotherapy, patients can experience nausea, vomiting, hair loss and low energy levels. Radiation therapy is known to have similar side effects as chemotherapy.