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Abnormal Growths Of Cells In The Brain

Cancer cells reproduce but they don't die. They're sort of like evil immortals. The body just can't kill them no matter how hard it tries. Brain cancer is abnormal growths of cells in the brain. Although such growths are popularly called brain tumors, not all brain tumors are cancer. Cancer is a term reserved for malignant tumors. Malignant tumors grow and spread aggressively, overpowering healthy cells by taking their space, blood, and nutrients. (Like all cells of the body, tumor cells need blood and nutrients to survive.) Tumors that do not spread aggressively are called benign. In general, a benign tumor is less serious than a malignant tumor. But a benign tumor can still cause many problems in the brain.

The symptoms of brain cancer depend mainly on their size and their location in the brain. Symptoms are caused by damage to vital tissue and by pressure on the brain as the tumor grows within the limited space in the skull. As the tumor grows in size, it can produce a variety of symptoms, including: Headaches, Seizures, Nausea or vomiting, Weakness or loss of feeling in the arms or legs, memory loss, Abnormal eye movements or changes in vision, Drowsiness, problems with speech and language, thought processing problems.

Treatment for a brain cancer depends on a number of factors. Among these are the type, location, and size of the tumor, as well as the patient's age and general health. Treatment methods and schedules often vary for children and adults. A treatment plan is developed to fit each patient's need. It is possible to decrease the risk of developing brain metastases from certain tumors by decreasing the risk of developing the initial primary tumor in the first place. Sometimes, when patients have certain cancers that are well controlled, they will be offered preventive radiation therapy to the brain in order to decrease the likelihood of developing brain metastases in the future.

Submitted by:

Tom Norman

Brain Cancer Center


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