MSH Brain Cancer

What is Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer is an abnormal growth that starts in the brain or is a metastatic tumor that has spread from tumor cells that started in other parts of the body. It can affect any of the skull's tissues, including the brain, cranial nerves, meninges, pituitary gland, and pineal gland. Brain cancer has a medium to bad prognosis, depending on the type of cancer and the patient's overall health level; children have a slightly better prognosis.

With an increase in brain-related illnesses around the world, medulloblastoma, a pediatric malignant primary brain tumor that spreads through the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and frequently metastasizes to various locations along the surface of the brain and spinal cord, affects over 2,500 Indian children each year. But as alarming as it all seems, brain cancer affects only a small number of people each year. If diagnosed at the right time, the survival rate is quite promising. Infact, after a brain tumor diagnosis, age has a role in overall survival rates. People under the age of 15 have a 5-year survival rate of more than 75%. The 5-year survival rate for people aged 15 to 39 is over 72 percent. So, both time and age aid your chances of recovery.

At Medica, we have world-class oncologists and oncosurgeons who are well-experienced in handling such types of cases. Medica’s oncology department excels in providing extensive cancer treatment to all our patients. That is further driven by their collective clinical excellence of over 30+ years. With a multidisciplinary approach to treating all types and forms of cancer, our oncologists and onco-surgeons are supported by the latest cancer treatment technologies along with a team of highly-skilled reconstructive surgeons who deliver extensive treatment to all of our patients, adults and children alike.

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Types

There are about 120 different forms of brain tumors, lesions, and cysts, which are distinguished by where they occur and the cells that make them up. To standardize communication among health networks around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) devised a classification and grading system. The goal is to better plan therapy and forecast outcomes in a systematic and structured manner.

  • Primary brain cancers start in the brain tissue and stay there.
  • Secondary brain cancers are more prevalent than primary brain tumors. These malignancies originate elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Malignancies of the lung, breast, kidney, colon, prostate, and skin are among the most frequent primary cancers that can spread to the brain.

And not all tumors lead to brain cancer but being vigilant about any growth or abnormality it is important to avoid any other types of complications.
Some brain tumors have cancer cells in them, while others do not:

  • Cancer cells are not seen in benign brain tumors. They develop slowly and may be removed with ease. They rarely spread to neighboring brain tissue. They can be life-threatening depending on the tumor’s location.
  • Cancer cells can be seen in malignant brain tumors. Although the rates of growth differ, cells can infiltrate healthy brain tissue. These infections only rarely extend beyond the brain and spinal cord.

More about Brain Tumors

The following are the most prevalent kinds of brain cancer in adults:

However, brain tumors are divided into two categories based on their location of origin:

Meningiomas

Adults are most likely to develop these types of primary brain tumors. They are especially common among people in their 70s and 80s. They begin in the meninges, the brain’s lining. They can be in grades one, two, or three. They are non-cancerous, and metastasis is uncommon.

Glioma

Glioma is a frequent type of tumor that starts in the brain but can occasionally spread to the spinal cord. Gliomas make up around a third of all brain tumors. Glial cells that surround and support neurons give rise to these malignancies. Glial cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there are a variety of gliomas to choose from, including:

  • Astrocytomas: Pilocytic astrocytoma is a benign brain tumor that arises from supporting brain cells and is most commonly observed in young adults or children. If the entire tumor can be removed, surgery can be used to treat it.
  • Oligodendrogliomas: These develop in the cells that form the protective layer around nerves. They’re usually in grades one, two, or three. They typically grow slowly and do not spread to surrounding tissue.
  • Glioblastomas: Glioblastomas are a kind of cancer that is particularly aggressive.

Other Types of Common Brain Tumors

  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Schwannoma (neuroma)
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Pinealoma (pineocytoma, pineoblastoma)
  • Epidermoid
  • Lymphoma

The following are the most prevalent tumor types in children:

Medulloblastoma

It is a type of tumor that develops in the cerebellum. A primitive neuroectodermal tumor is another name for it. It is a fourth-grade level.

Ependymoma

Ependymoma is a tumor that develops from cells lining the ventricles or central canal of the spinal cord. Children and young adults are the most typically affected. It could be in the first, second, or third grade.

Grade I or II Astrocytoma

This low-grade tumor can form anywhere in the brain in youngsters. Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma is the most frequent type of astrocytoma in children. It’s a first-grade assignment.

Brainstem Glioma

Brainstem Glioma is a tumor that develops in the lowest portion of the brain. And affects a large number of children. It is a tumor that might be low-grade or high-grade. Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is the most prevalent kind.

Symptoms

Symptoms associated with a brain tumor might be generic or specialized.

The common symptoms of a Brain Tumor are:

  • Seizures or paralysis
  • Headaches
  • Personality Changes
  • Memory Changes/Lapses
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Changes in Vision and other Sensory Experiences

Other symptoms may include:

  • Issues Falling Asleep
  • Difficulties Performing Daily Activities
  • Balance Issues
  • Drowsiness
  • Facial Numbness
  • Depression
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Causes

Primary brain tumors can develop from a variety of brain tissues (for example, glial cells, astrocytes, and other brain cell types). The spread of cancer cells from one body organ to the brain is known as metastatic brain cancer. The causes of the transition from normal to malignant cells in both metastatic and primary brain tumors, however, are unknown. Researchers have discovered that persons who have certain risk factors are more likely to acquire brain cancer. Because most brain tumors have no recognised cause, a risk factor is anything that enhances your chances of getting sick. According to research, there are a few risk factors that can increase the likelihood of getting brain tumors.

Other Risk Factors

  • Age: In general, older persons are more likely to develop brain tumors. The age factor varies depending on the cell type and location. Adults, for example, have a relatively low risk of acquiring medulloblastomas; gliomas, on the other hand, are the most prevalent cancer in adults. Adults above the age of 50 are more likely to develop meningiomas and craniopharyngiomas. These tumors are still documented to occur at any age.
  • Immunity: People with a low immune system are more likely to develop brain lymphomas. Treatments for various tumors, medication to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, and diseases like acquired immunodeficiency syndrome can all induce a compromised immune system (AIDS). It’s also possible that some cases are congenital (present at birth).
  • Gender: While there is no universal rule for whether men or women are more prone to acquire brain tumors, meningiomas are twice as likely to occur in women while medulloblastomas are more commonly observed in men.
  • Family History: This is a rare occurrence, with only a few families having multiple individuals with brain tumors.
  • Radiation of Ionization: A high dosage of -rays can induce cell damage, which can lead to a brain tumor. Ionizing radiation may raise the risk of brain malignancies such as meningioma and glioma in people who have been exposed to it.
  • Other Exposure: Industrial chemicals or solvents have been linked to a higher risk of getting a brain tumor. There is an increased risk for people who work in the oil refining, rubber manufacturing, and medication manufacturing industries, despite the lack of clear proof.
Grades

Tumors are classified according to the appearance of the cells, which might be normal or aberrant. On the basis of this observation, doctors devise treatment plans. Staging also allows them to estimate how quickly a brain tumor may spread. The stages of a brain tumor are listed below.

Grade 1 brain tumors are slow-growing and low-grade malignant tumors. It’s simple to mix them up with healthy cells that seem the same.

Grade 2 brain tumors are cancerous and progress slowly. They have a high recurrence rate and are likely to spread to nearby tissues.

Grade 3 brain tumors appear aberrant, are aggressively metastasizing into nearby brain regions, and are highly likely to recur.

Grade 4 brain tumors appear to be very aggressive and actively spread into the brain’s surrounding tissues. Some benign tumors can turn malignant in rare cases, and a lower-grade tumor can recur with a higher-grade tumor.

Diagnosis

The first test is an interview with a health care practitioner that involves a medical history and a physical examination. The outcome of this interaction will indicate whether or not more testing is required.

Imaging Tests: Doctors will prescribe imaging tests such as CT, MRI, PET Scan, Electroencephalography etc., to determine the location, cause and stage of your tumor’s progression.

Biopsy: A biopsy is a technique that involves removing a sample of tissue and examining it under a microscope to determine whether it is malignant. Biopsies can be performed in a variety of ways, including needle biopsy, laparoscopic biopsy, and surgical biopsy. There are two types of biopsies for brain tumors:

  • A stereotactic biopsy is a type of biopsy that involves the use of a laser. Imaging examinations are used to guide this type of biopsy.
  • Open or surgical biopsy (craniotomy) is used when the neurosurgeon may not perform a needle biopsy if imaging scans establish the presence of the tumor. Instead, he may do a craniotomy operation to remove tumorous tissues. Debulking is the process of removing the majority of the tumor.
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Treatment

Treatment is determined by the cancer’s type and grade, its location, size, and the patient’s age and condition. A multidisciplinary approach to treatment is when a treatment plan includes multiple types of treatment.

Surgery: The first stage of treatment is usually surgery. Surgery may be sufficient for grade 1 cancers because the tumor can be removed. Otherwise, it may be possible to minimize the tumor’s size and alleviate symptoms.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to eliminate cancer cells in the brain. It’s delivered orally, intravenously, or, less frequently, in wafers implanted in the brain by a surgeon.

Targeted Therapy: Only specific forms of brain tumors can be treated with it. These medications target specific components of cancer cells and aid in the prevention of tumor growth and dissemination.

Immunotherapy: Some forms of immunotherapy have shown potential in treating lung cancer and melanoma brain metastases.

Radiation Therapy: Radiotherapy or Radiation Therapy follows surgery to kill any tumor cells that remain in the area. If surgery isn’t an option, radiation therapy alone can also be given.

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