Monday, May 9, 2011

Brain Cancer

There are two types of brain tumors: primary and secondary. A primary brain tumor originates in the brain and a secondary brain tumor is one that originates from cancer cells that have migrated from other parts of the body.

Primary brain cancer very rarely spreads from the central nervous system. Death often results from uncontrolled tumor growth from within the limited space of the skull. These can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Both types take up space within the brain and can cause serous symptoms such as vision or hearing loss and can cause complications such as a stroke. All malignant tumors are life threatening because they are aggressive in nature. A non-malignant primary brain tumor is only life threatening when it compromises a vital structure such as an artery.

Signs and symptoms to look for are numerous and in the frontal lobe are: behavioral and emotional changes; impaired sense of smell; memory loss; impaired judgment; reduced mental capacity; paralysis on one side of the body; and vision loss or inflammation of the optic nerve.

If the tumor is located in the right and left hemispheres of the frontal lobe they might cause behavioral changes or cognitive changes and even a clumsy or uncoordinated gait.

Brain tumors located in the parietal lobe may cause the following: spatial disorders; impaired speech; lack of recognition; seizures; or an inability to write.

An occipital lobe tumor may cause vision loss in one or both eyes and even seizures.

A brain tumor that obstructs the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, results in the accumulation of hydrocephalus and increased intracranial pressure can cause nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Brain tumors can also damage vital neurological pathways, compress brain tissue, and even invade brain tissue. Symptoms of brain tumors usually develop over time.

By Isabel Rodrigues
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