ALL BRAIN CANCERS ARE NOT CANCEROUS
What Are the Symptoms of Brain Cancer?
It is necessary to visit the doctor, if a person experiences any of the below symptoms:
- Weakness in particular part of the body
- Severe headaches, especially in the morning with nausea / vomiting
- Paraesthesia (abnormal sensation)
- Clumsiness or balance disorder
- Single or multiple muscle jerks / seizures
- Altered mental status
- Difficulty with vision / Blurred vision
- Speech difficulties
- Hearing problems
As the symptoms are gradual, they can go unnoticed. However, if a cancer occurs in a specific brain lobe, symptoms may be more noticeable.
Different Grades of Brain Cancer
Typically, brain cancer has the following grades:
- Grade I - Tissues are benign. Also, the cell growth is very slow.
- Grade II - Tissues become more cancer like but higher proliferation than grade I.
- Grade III - Malignant tissues have abnormal cells which actively start multiplying.
- Grade IV - Malignant tissue has the most cells which are abnormal and it grows rapidly.
Causes of Brain Cancer
Brain cancer occurs when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the brain. Though the exact causes of brain cancer are unknown; genetic factors, environmental toxins, prolonged radiation, HIV infection, smoking, exposure to chemicals like embalmers, benzene, vinyl chloride, etc. are some of the brain cancer causes.
What Are the Treatment Options for Brain Cancer?
The treatment of brain cancer will depend on the type, size, and location of the cancer along with patient’s age and health.
- Surgery - Surgery is done to remove abnormal / cancer tissue. However, it is often better not to operate in such cases where the brain cancer is at that portion of the brain where the surgery can cause damage to the other portions. In cases, where the surgery cannot remove all the cancer cells, it eases symptoms and makes other treatments more effective.
- Radiation Therapy - By using high energy radiation, this therapy attempts to destroy the cancer cell's ability to function and replicate. Usually, it is used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the area.
- Chemotherapy - By using certain drugs, doctors attempt to destroy brain cancer cells. Chemotherapy is given as tablets, or injections. Doctors may also place an implant containing a chemotherapy drug directly into the brain cancer cavity.
- Immunotherapy - Under this, immune cells of a human body are directed towards destroying some specific cancer cell types. The therapy not only slows down the growth of cancer cells, but it also ensures it doesn’t spread to the other part of the body.
Are There Side-Effects of Brain Cancer Treatment?
Though, the purpose of brain cancer treatment is to cure the issue, it can often lead to some of the side-effects, which you can always check with your doctor.
- Loss of hair
- Poor Blood Formation
- Infection & Fever
Life after Brain Cancer Treatment
Life after Brain cancer treatment would depend upon the grading of the cancer. You would be happy that the treatment has ended. However, every ache or pain would make you think that the cancer is coming back. This feeling is normal. Take your time to adjust to the physical and emotional changes and redefine your life’s routine at your pace. Here are a few things that can help a cancer survivor to lead a better life post-treatment:
- Grade I / Grade II cancers or Benign cancer patients return to work soon after surgery
- Grade III / IV- have to undergo Radiotherapy / Chemotherapy and would take care of the side effects of the treatment for 4-8 weeks
- Recurrence of cancers occur in grade III / IV types after few months to years
- Seek help from your doctor, family members and friends to deal with depression, which is common among cancer survivors
- Stay positive, but do not let your positivity stop you from conveying your loved ones and doctors about how you feel, including negative thoughts
- Be aware that cancer recurrence is beyond your control, so focus on today rather than thinking of an uncertain future
- Be as physically active as possible
- Indulge in healthy eating habits
Follow Up Care after Brain Cancer Treatment
Your visit to the doctor should not end with your last brain cancer treatment. It is essential to be regular about your follow-up appointments with the doctor. Such visits would allow your doctor to monitor your health and look for signs of recurrence. Also, post-treatment visit can help identify any late physical or psychological effects of the treatment.
The frequency of your follow-up appointments would depend on the stage of your cancer, treatment received and any other treatment-related health issues which you may develop. Since this varies from one patient to another, talk to your doctor about your specific follow-up needs as soon your Brain cancer treatment comes to an end.