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Do You Know Anything About Brain Cancer

Jul 11, 2008
Brain tumors may be classified as gliomas or non-gliomas. The most common gliomas are astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas (mixtures of oligodendroglioma and astrocytoma elements), and ependymomas.

Brain tumor symptoms vary, depending on the tumor size, type and location. Symptoms may occur when a tumor damages a certain area of the brain or presses on a nerve. Brain tumor patients will often have a primary caregiver, the main person who assists and cares for the patients needs. Communication between family members may become more difficult in addressing changes in roles and responsibilities.

Brain tumors (whether primary or metastatic, benign or malignant) are usually treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy ? alone or in various combinations. While it is true that radiation and chemotherapy are more often used for malignant, residual or recurrent tumors, decisions as to what treatment to use are made on a case-by-case basis and depend on a number of factors.

Symptoms vary depending on the size and location of tumor. Many symptoms are related to an increase in pressure in or around the brain. Symptoms of brain tumors may vary depending on their size and their location within the brain. Symptoms vary depending on size and location of tumor. Many symptoms are related to an increase in pressure in or around the brain.

Malignant (cancerous) tumors are typically rapidly growing and aggressive. Benign tumors are typically slow- growing and less aggressive. Malignant tumors grow the way a plant does, with "roots" invading various tissues. Or, they can shed cells that travel to distant parts of the brain.

Malignant choroid plexus papillomas often affect very young children, and they need to be treated with chemotherapy. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, are cancerous. Fast-growing and aggressive, they can invade nearby tissue and also are more likely to recur after treatment.

Astrocytomas may also start here. Astrocytomas are generally subdivided into high-grade or low-grade tumors. High-grade astrocytomas are the most malignant of all brain tumors.

Ependymomas make up about 8-10% of pediatric brain tumors. The tumors are located in tiny passageways (ventricles) in the brain, and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Ependymomas can be slow growing, compared to other brain tumors, but may recur after treatment is completed. Recurrence of ependymomas results in a more invasive tumor with more resistance to treatment.

Radiation of the brain and spine is often recommended in adults and children over three years of age. A shunt may be needed to treat hydrocephalus. Radiation passes through the holes in the helmet and is aimed precisely at the tumor. Radiation can be done instead of surgery or in combination with surgery and what protocols yield the longest survival times is not clear. Currently, the philosophy on treatment is that a combination of surgery plus radiation yields the best results for dogs.

Radiation therapy sometimes helps to reduce symptoms and improve survival by slowing tumor growth. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy.

Patients have no risk of radiation injury to other parts of their own body or to others around them because the radiation dose is precisely delivered and short lived. Patients are generally discovered to have a pituitary tumor either as a result of a hormonal abnormality that was discovered or neurological abnormality. These in turn will lead to an MRI that demonstrates the tumor.

Patients who have pacemakers and/or metal implants cannot have an MRI. People who suffer from claustrophobia (the fear of being in tight spaces) may have difficulty dealing with the enclosed space of the MRI tube.
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