Brain cancer often comes without much warning, and it can be confusing to determine where brain cancer originates from. If you or a loved one is suffering from brain cancer, you may be wondering what causes brain cancer to occur? Where did this come from? While there aren’t any direct correlations to the on-set of brain cancer, there are some answers as to how brain cancer arises, some potential risk factors, and how it can be dealt with through alternative brain cancer treatments.1
About the Brain
Brain cancer is a very serious and life-threatening disease. Before understanding brain cancer, it is important to become more familiar with the brain itself. The brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body. The brain and spinal column are what make up the central nervous system (CNS), which is the location where all vital functions are to be controlled. Any part of the CNS that is affected including the growth of a tumor will influence a person’s thought processes or how they talk or move.2
The brain consists of three specific parts outlined below.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain which contains two cerebral hemispheres both of which control the opposite side of the body. The cerebrum is divided into four lobes with specific functionalities. The frontal lobe is in charge of reasoning, emotions, problem-solving, expressive speech, and movement. The parietal lobe controls sensations of touch like pressure, pain, and temperature. The parietal lobe is also in charge of verbal communication, visual-spatial orientation, and computation. The temporal lobe controls memory, hearing, and comprehension of spoken or written words. The occipital lobe is in control of vision.2
The cerebellum is the back part of the brain that controls coordination and balance. It also controls functions on the same side of the body.2
The brain stem is connected to the spinal cord and the cerebellum. It is in control of essential involuntary functions that are necessary to live such as breathing and a heartbeat. Those messages that control the cerebrum and cerebellum travel through the brain stem to the body.2
The meninges are surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. There are three layers to the meninges called the dura mater, arachnoid, and pia mater.2
Where Brain Cancer Comes From
With a better understanding of the brain, you can better understand where brain cancer comes from. Brain cancer occurs from an abnormal number of cells that grow in the brain, and this growth is called a brain tumor. A tumor is a mass of cells, and not all brain cancers are cancerous. This includes benign tumors that are not cancerous. Malignant tumors are those that consist of cancer cells, therefore cancer is used in the association with malignant tumors. These tumors have rapidly-growing and unusual looking cells that are considered to be cancer cells.1
The malignant tumors are usually fast-growing and arise in areas of healthy tissue to the point of then overpowering the area in space, blood, and nutrients. Similar to other cells of the body, tumor cells require blood and nutrients in order to survive. Malignant and benign brain tumors can create a problem of increased intracranial pressure. Malignant brain tumors are often the cause of problems that occur more aggressively and more rapidly than benign brain tumors.1
Understanding the Types of Brain Tumors
Primary Brain Tumors
Primary brain tumors are what make up the different types of cells and tumors that begin from a brain cell. Essentially, a primary brain tumor is one that originates in the brain itself. A primary brain tumor is described as low-grade or high-grade, with the low-grade growing more slowly but with the potential to turn into a high-grade tumor. High-grade tumors are likely to grow much faster.1,2
Secondary Brain Tumors
Secondary brain tumors, also called brain metastatic brain tumors, are more frequently common than primary tumors in adults. They are also a type of brain tumor that originated in a different part of the body and spread to the brain this way. Examples of these can be a tumor that began in the breast, lung, or colon and spread to the brain from there. The process of cells spreading to the brain from another tumor is called metastasis. Cancer cells will leave the primary cancer tissue and reach the lymph nodes then later enter the bloodstream directly. They eventually reach the brain through the bloodstream and develop into metastatic tumors. If the cancer has spread into the meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), it is referred to as leptomeningeal metastasis or neoplastic meningitis. This is more common for those individuals with lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, or breast cancer. 1,2
Metastatic brain tumors are the most common types of brain tumors. The majority stay located in the cerebrum, 85% to be exact, which is the largest portion of the brain. Most metastatic brain tumors spread within the brain and often times are found in more than one area in the brain tissue and appear as several masses on a diagnostic scan.1
The most common group of brain tumors includes that of gliomas. There isn’t a precise understanding of where the origin is, but it is considered for gliomas to grow from glial cells or glial precursor cells. A glial cell is a supportive cell in the brain. The primary types of supportive cells in the brain are considered ependymal cells, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Gliomas may be considered to be astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, or ependymoma. Gliomas are assigned with a grade to indicate the aggressiveness of the tumor. The higher the grade the more aggressive and likeliness to grow quickly. Types of gliomas include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymoma, and brain stem glioma.2
Tumors that come from brain cells and are not glial cells are considered non-glioma tumors. These types include meningioma, pineal gland, and pituitary gland tumors, primary CNS lymphoma, medulloblastoma, craniopharyngioma, and schwannoma.2
Options for the Treatment of Brain Cancer
While cancer of the brain can be a very intimidating experience, it’s important to know whether you or your loved one is dealing with it, there are options available. Most individuals will go through the process of discovering a brain tumor upon realizing they are showing certain signs and symptoms. Brain cancer symptoms can be anything from headaches, seizures, to loss of memory or change in mobility. Doctors will evaluate the brain tumor from a test like an MRI or CT scan in order to make the best diagnosis. This will usually show the severity of the brain tumor and what the next steps may be. Other options include a biopsy, which takes a part of the tumor as a sample in order to determine the type of tumor and grade. A biopsy will be examined beneath a microscope to assign its grade. In order to remove a brain tumor, surgery is usually suggested by neurosurgeons. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the brain tumor as possible without causing any other changes in brain function. The surgeons will determine, based on the severity of the tumor and its location in the brain, the best options for operating upon the brain tumor. It isn’t always the case, however, for a surgery to be the solution to removing a brain tumor, as there may be times in which patients suffer from inoperable brain tumors. Some other methods of treating brain cancer include radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the process of using very strong drugs to kill the tumor cells. For chemotherapy, a single drug or a combination drug can be used. Certain drugs for chemotherapy are given by mouth and others are given into the bloodstream. Chemotherapy includes cycles that include a short period of intensive treatment and a period of rest and recovery afterward. The cycles of chemotherapy each last a few weeks at a time. Chemotherapy involves some well-known and challenging side effects including that of nausea, vomiting, loss of hunger, hair loss, and others. There are certain medications that may prove helpful in the event of such side effects from chemotherapy.1,2
Therapeutic options for cancer are constantly being developed with studies in laboratories that turn into clinical trials. These clinical trials are available for almost all types of brain cancer and can provide new therapies that can be more effective than those existing like chemotherapy or radiation therapy and have fewer side effects. Clinical trials haven’t been proven to work on all those who participate, however.1
The specific brain cancer treatment in which a patient will receive is unique to the individual, their historical background, and the specific tumor type. Whatever the severity of the type of brain cancer that an individual may possess, the Immunity Therapy Center offers a range of alternative cancer treatments to treat brain cancer. If you think you have brain tumor symptoms, contact Immunity Therapy Center to discuss these treatment options. Many of these options to treat brain cancer naturally, are less invasive and result in fewer side effects. With a dedicated team of doctors and support, the Immunity Therapy Center is available to help you better understand what causes brain cancer and how to best treat it.
- Davis, Charle Patrick. Brain Cancer. EMedicineHealth.
- Cancer.Net. Brain Tumor.