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Brain cancer

Brain cancer: Introduction

Brain cancer is a very serious type of malignancy that occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the brain. Brain cancer is caused by a malignant brain tumor. Not all brain tumors are malignant (cancerous). Some types of brain tumors are benign (noncancerous). Brain cancer is also called glioma and meningioma.

Brain cancer is one of the leading causes of death from cancer. There are two main types of brain cancer. They include primary brain cancer, in which the brain cancer originates in the brain itself. Primary brain cancer is the rarest type of brain cancer. It can spread and invade healthy tissues on the brain and spinal cord but rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

Secondary brain cancer is more common and is caused by a cancer that has begun in another part of the body, such as lung cancer or breast cancer that spreads to the brain. Secondary brain cancer is also called metastatic brain cancer.

Brain cancer is most treatable and curable if caught in the earliest stages of the disease. Untreated and/or advanced brain cancer can only spread inward because the skull will not let the brain tumor expand outward. This puts excessive pressure on the brain (increased intracranial pressure) and can cause permanent brain damage and eventually death. This process results in symptoms, such as headache, and other neurological problems. For more details on other key symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of brain cancer.

People at risk for developing brain cancer include people with a family history of brain cancer and people who have had radiation therapy of the head.

Diagnosing brain cancer begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms and risk factors for brain cancer. The diagnostic process also includes completing a thorough physical and neurological exam. A neurological helps to evaluate the brain and nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, alertness, coordination, vision, and hearing.

A diagnosis of brain cancer is generally made by a specialist called a neurologist. Imaging tests that may be performed include MRI and/or CT scan which use computer technology to create detailed pictures of the brain.

A procedure called a brain angiogram may also be done to illuminate blood vessels in the brain that feed blood to a brain tumor. Another procedure that may be performed is a spinal tap or lumbar puncture. In this procedure, a small sample of spinal fluid is removed from the spinal cord and examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells.

Diagnostic testing also includes a biopsy. In a biopsy a sample of cells or tissues are taken from the brain during surgery performed on a brain tumor. The sample of brain tissue is examined under a microscope for the presence of brain cancer cells or abnormal changes in brain tissue that can lead to cancer. This will determine if a brain tumor is cancerous or benign.

A diagnosis of brain cancer can be missed or delayed because some symptoms of brain cancer are similar to symptoms of other conditions. For more information about other diseases, disorders and conditions that can mimic brain cancer, refer to misdiagnosis of brain cancer.

The prognosis for people with brain cancer varies depending on the location and stage of advancement of the cancer, age of the patient, general health status, and other factors. Treatment of brain cancer may include some combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. For more details about treatment plans, refer to treatment of brain cancer. ...more »

Brain cancer: Cancer of the brain. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Brain cancer is available below.

Brain cancer: Symptoms

Symptoms of brain cancer can vary among individuals and differ depending on the stage of advancement of brain cancer and where it is located in the brain. There may not be any symptoms in very early brain cancer.

Symptoms of brain cancer are due to the impact of the growing brain tumor on the brain and nervous system. Symptoms are typically neurological in nature ...more symptoms »

Brain cancer: Treatments

The general goal of treatment of brain cancer is to bring about a complete remission of the disease, in which there is no longer any sign of the cancer in the brain, nervous system, or other parts of the body. The prognosis for people with brain cancer varies depending on the location and stage of advancement of the cancer, age of the patient, general health ...more treatments »

Brain cancer: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of brain cancer can be delayed or missed because in early stages there may not be any symptoms. In addition, some symptoms of brain cancer can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. These include migraine headache, stroke, tension headache, epilepsy, seizure, encephalitis, epidural abscess, transient ischemic attack ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Brain cancer

Treatments for Brain cancer

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Brain cancer:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Brain cancer?

Brain cancer: Related Patient Stories

Brain cancer: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Brain cancer.

Alternative Treatments for Brain cancer

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Brain cancer may include:

Types of Brain cancer

  • Primary Brain Tumors - caused by cancer of brain cells.
  • Metastatic Brain Cancer - cancer of another part of the body has spread to the brain.
  • Benign Brain Tumor
  • Primary CNS Lymphoma
  • Brain Sarcoma (type of Sarcoma)
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for Brain cancer

Test for Brain cancer in your own home

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Brain cancer: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Brain cancer:

Causes of Brain cancer

More information about causes of Brain cancer:

Disease Topics Related To Brain cancer

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Brain cancer:

Brain cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Brain cancer

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due more »

Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi. See melanoma and more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. more »

Brain pressure condition often misdiagnosed as dementia: A condition that results from an excessive pressure of CSF within the brain is often misdiagnosed. It may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease or dementia more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms more »

Brain cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Brain cancer

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Brain cancer:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Brain cancer, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Brain cancer: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Brain cancer

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Brain cancer

Medical research articles related to Brain cancer include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Brain cancer: Animations

Prognosis for Brain cancer

Prognosis for Brain cancer: In general, the probable outcome is fairly poor. For many people with metastatic brain tumors, the cancer spreads to other areas of the body. Death often occurs within 2 years.

Research about Brain cancer

Visit our research pages for current research about Brain cancer treatments.

Clinical Trials for Brain cancer

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Brain cancer include:

Statistics for Brain cancer

Brain cancer: Broader Related Topics

Brain cancer Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Brain cancer, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Brain cancer:

Benign and malignant neoplasms that arise from or metastasize to structures within the cranium. This includes meningeal and other tumors that occur in the spaces that surround the brain, and neoplasms of the brain. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A tumor in the brain - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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