Brain cancer can interfere with normal brain functions such as speech, movement, thoughts, feelings, memory, vision, and hearing. It is a disease of the brain in which abnormal, cancerous cells grow in the brain tissues. Typically, brain cancer is a developed form of a brain tumour. Primary brain cancer or a brain tumour develops from cells within the brain.
However, all brain tumours are not brain cancer. But one thing to note is that even benign tumour can cause serious problems by increasing intracranial pressure or obstruct vascular structures or cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain.
Different types of cells in the brain such as gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primitive neuroectodermal (medulloblastomas) can become cancerous. Gliomas have several subtypes, which include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas, and choroid plexus papillomas.
There are two types of brain cancer, including:
Metastatic cancer in the brain is more common than primary brain cancer. They are usually named after the tissue or organ where cancer first develops. Metastatic lung or breast cancer in the brain is the most commonly found brain cancers.
The exact brain cancer cause is still unknown. However, its occurrence has been linked to several risk factors, including the following:
Some types of brain cancers such as meningeal and pituitary gland may produce few or no symptoms. Some of the brain cancer symptoms typically experienced by patients include:
Before the treatment is initiated, it is important to confirm the diagnosis and the grade of brain cancer. The treatment modalities used or recommended by the neurosurgeon would actually depend on the type and grade of brain cancer that you are suffering from.
It is important for you to tell the surgeon all the signs of brain cancer that you are experiencing. You must also report the frequency and intensity of specific signs of brain cancer that you experience or notice.
Brain Cancer: Grades
tumours of the brain are assigned under a grade, depending on how normal or abnormal the cells appear microscopically. Grade measurements will help your doctor plan the best suitable treatment for you.
Brain cancer diagnosis may start with asking questions about patient’s medical history. The results of this interaction will determine the tests that are required to be conducted. The frequently used tests for brain cancer diagnosis include:
The brain cancer treatment plan is prepared by a medical specialist, who takes a note of the cancer type, location, tumour size, patient age, and general health status before coming up with an individualized treatment plan.
Typically, brain cancer treatment options include the following:
The only limitation of surgery is that tumours cannot be separated surgically if they are located near the sensitive areas of your brain. This surgery involves opening the skull (craniotomy), which carries risks such as infection and bleeding. It can be life-threatening in some cases.
An endoscopy may be conducted through nasal route or via a hole conducted in the skull to see the inside of the brain and locate the tumour. The identified areas of the brain with cancer cells are then excised or removed with the help of surgical tools.
It takes time to recover after brain cancer surgery. The ability to care for others and yourself is compensated with and you may take some time to sink in the feeling of what just happened. You may not have the energy initially to think about anything or act to do something. But gradually the energy is regained with the help of doctors, therapists and family members and quality of life are slowly restored.
Immediately after the surgery, you will be placed in the recovery unit for at least a few hours. During your stay, a team of doctors and nurses will be available to monitor your health. Once your health stabilizes, you will be shifted to the neurosurgery nursing unit for a few days.
Surgery for brain cancer may affect the behaviour, feelings, and thoughts of the patient. This is the reason why rehabilitative therapy after brain cancer surgery becomes important. The rehabilitation after brain cancer surgery may involve a team of experts, including physical therapists, speech and language experts, and occupational therapists.
The rehabilitation phase starts in the hospital itself. The rehabilitation team will prepare you for discharge and may continue to offer their services at your home if needed.
You are likely to experience discomfort for a few days after the surgery and discharge. However, make sure to call the doctor right away if you experience seizures or troubled breathing. Additionally, you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Q: Is it possible to completely cure brain cancer?
A: Brain cancer can be cured if diagnosed at an early stage. In case of an advance stage, it is difficult to treat brain cancer completely with the help of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. However, treatment options can be used to shrink the size of the tumor and reduce the associated symptoms.
Q: What are the risks of brain surgery?
A: Formation of a blood clot, internal bleeding, muscle weakness, memory problems, and issues related to coordination, walking, balancing, and speech are some of the risks of brain surgery.
Q: What are the chances of surviving brain surgery?
A: Nearly 28.8 percent of males who are diagnosed with a primary malignant brain or spinal cord tumor is likely to survive for five years. The 5-year survival rate in case of females is around 31.6 percent.
Q: Is a craniotomy a serious surgery?
A: During a craniotomy, a bony flap is removed from the skull to look inside the brain and access it. As soon as the surgery is over, the surgeon places the removed piece of bone flap back and
Q: Is glioblastoma always fatal?
A: There are patients who have lived for years with benign blastomas. However, malignant glioblastomas are almost always fatal and most of the patients die within two years of treatment. The patient may die within a few weeks if malignant glioblastoma is left untreated.
Q: How long does it take to perform a brain cancer surgery?
A: The surgeons may take around four to six hours to conduct brain cancer surgery. However, it may take even longer to conduct this procedure.
Q: What is the brain tumor surgery cost?
A: The cost of brain surgery for tumour depends on the approach used to access the brain and remove the tumour. The brain tumor surgery cost for craniotomy and endoscopic surgery are different.
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