An Overview of Brain Cancer
One of the most terrifying sentences a person can hear is “you have a brain tumor.” Malignant tumors in the brain or spinal cord can harm your brain, central nervous system, and other parts of your entire body in severe, life-threatening ways.
Thankfully, studies show that roughly 70 percent of tumors that develop in the brain or spinal cord are benign. And in most cases, even the 30 percent that is cancerous have ways of being treated. Read on for everything you need to know about brain cancer, recognizing the symptoms, and how you can fight back with alternative brain cancer treatments.
Brain cancer types include:
- Anaplastic astrocytoma
- Brain stem glioma
- Brain tumor
- Diffuse astrocytoma
- Germ cell tumor
- Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)
- Low-grade astrocytoma
- Mixed gliomas
- Peripheral nerve cancer
- Pilocytic astrocytoma
- Pineal region tumor
- Pituitary gland cancer
What is a Brain Tumor?
Brain tumors result from cells located in the body’s central nervous system (i.e. the brain, spinal cord, or connective brain stem) growing abnormally, thus overcrowding surrounding normal cells. There are two types of brain tumors:
- Benign – Tumors that don’t spread to nearby tissue or throughout the body aren’t cancerous. In most parts of the body, the growth of a benign tumor is harmless. In the brain, however, even benign tumors can press upon brain tissue in a way that causes brain damage or disabling ramifications.
- Malignant – These are cancerous tumors that grow either within the brain or along the spinal cord, and then spread aggressively throughout the body. As a result, these malignant brain tumors shove healthy, normal cells out of the way and ravage them of the vital blood and nutrients these cells need to function properly.
Roughly 80 percent of malignant tumors that develop in the brain or central nervous system are gliomas, tumors that grow in the glial cells (i.e. cells surrounding neurons) of the brain and spinal cord.
Primary vs. Metastatic Brain Cancer
Primary brain cancer develops in cells within the brain. Primary brain tumors are classified by the type of cell or tissue the tumor affects, and the location and grade of the tumor. Tumor cells may travel short distances within the brain, but generally won’t travel outside of the brain itself.
When cancer develops elsewhere in the body and spreads (metastasizes) to the brain, it is called a secondary brain tumor, or metastatic brain cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors. Cancers that commonly spread to the brain include lung cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, and breast cancer.
Malignant brain tumors can cause brain cancer to develop in one of two ways:
- Primary brain tumors – The growth of the tumor begins from within the brain.
- Metastatic brain tumors – The growth of a tumor begins elsewhere in the body but then expands to intrude on the brain.
What are the Symptoms of Brain Cancer?
Symptoms of the disease are extremely varied, and include:
- Headaches, nausea and vomiting
- Muscle fatigue
- Trouble walking and/or speaking
- Inability to concentrate, remember things or remain alert
- Changes in vision
- Changes in emotional response and intellectual capabilities
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, don’t panic just yet. Not all of the symptoms are unique to brain cancer, as they can be caused by a wide variety of other illnesses.
Detecting Brain Cancer
Recognizing the presence of brain cancer can be tricky for a few reasons:
- Not every brain tumor causes symptoms. Thus, a brain tumor can go undetected for a long period of time
- In some cases, brain cancer symptoms rear their ugly heads almost immediately. But largely speaking, symptoms set in at a gradual pace, which means you might not even notice them until cancer has progressed to a later stage
Stages of Brain Cancer
As is typical in assessing the severity of different types of cancer, brain cancer is diagnosed in four stages:
- Grade I – The tumor hasn’t grown much, and likely hasn’t spread to nearby brain tissue.
- Grade II – The tumor is slowly but surely growing and may have spread to nearby tissue.
- Grade III – The tumor is growing at a rapid rate and looks poised to spread to nearby tissue.
- Grade IV – The growth and expansion of the tumor are unhinged.
How to Treat Brain Cancer?
Brain cancer treatment is a complex ordeal that requires intense teamwork between brain cancer patients, neurosurgeons, general oncologists and radiation oncologists, and perhaps even dietitians and physical therapists (to help cancer patients through the recovery process).
Specific treatment plans take several factors into account, including the patient’s age and general health, as well as the size, location, and stage of the tumor.
The vast majority of brain cancer treatment plans involve a combination of:
- Surgery (especially when the tumor hasn’t progressed past Stage I)
- Radiation therapy
Alternative Treatment Options for Brain Cancer
Alternative treatment plans work to build your system up while you fight your cancer diagnosis. They focus on keeping the body, mind, and spirit healthy while moving through the treatment of cancer. We believe that alternative diagnosis and treatment plans offer well-rounded healing and strength for your body while decreasing the negative side effects.
Immunity Therapy Center is dedicated to providing all-natural treatment options for cancer. Headquartered in Tijuana, Mexico, the Immunity Therapy Center health care team works directly with you to develop a custom-tailored treatment plan that suits your personal health. One-on-one consultations with Dr. Bautista ensure that you are treated like a human, not another chart or customer. To learn more about the treatment plans we offer to help prevent brain cancer, check out the alternative treatments we provide or contact us today.
The possibility of having brain cancer can certainly be daunting. But remember that experiencing a symptom of brain cancer doesn’t guarantee that you have a brain tumor and that the lion’s share of brain and spinal cord tumors are benign.
And if you do end up having a malignant brain tumor, remember that cancer treatment today, though arduous, can still be effective.
1) “Brain Cancer Health Center” by editorial staff at WebMD
2) “What are Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors?” by editorial staff at American Cancer Society
3) “Brain Cancer” by Charles Patrick Davis, MD