The brain is a crucial part of the human body and once attacked by cancer it becomes difficult for an individual to function properly. How do we know it is brain cancer and what are the treatments?
1 What is brain cancer?
First, let us know what a tumor is. A tumor is a mass of tissue that is formed by the accumulation of abnormal cells. Normally, cells in the body die after a certain age and are replaced by new ones. When the old cells do not die and keep on accumulating, it forms a mass which is called a tumor. There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant.
Difference between benign and malignant tumors
Benign tumors are non-cancerous whereas malignant tumors are cancerous. They originate in the brain, may grow slow or fast, and invade the surrounding tissues. Brain cancer can also spread to the nervous system.
2 What tests are used to diagnose brain tumors?
Imaging studies such as CT scan or MRI scan.
Angiogram or MRA which involves the use of dye and x-rays of blood vessels in the brain to look for signs of a tumor or any abnormalities.
The doctor may also ask for biopsy. A sample of tissue is taken either through surgery or with a needle inserted through a small hole drilled into the skull for further testing.
3 Symptoms of brain cancer
General signs and symptoms caused by a brain tumor are:
- Headache which are frequent and vary from severe to mild pain
- Unexplained vomiting and nausea
- Unable to hear clearly
- Impatient behavior
- Swelling in the brain followed by inflammation
- Difficulty with speech and vision
- Gradual changes in intellectual and emotional capacity
4 Causes of brain cancer
No one knows the exact cause of brain cancer. It is unknown yet. But here are certain risk factors that increase the chances of getting it:
Brain tumors are usually not inherited, but there are certain genetic conditions that are linked to brain tumors such as tuberous sclerosis, li-Fraumeni syndrome, and neurofibromatosis.
If you are earlier exposed to high radiation like radiotherapy, then you are likely at a higher risk of developing brain tumor.
With increasing age, the chance of having a tumor also increases. Certain types of tumors are also common in children.
There are lots of researches going on about the other possible causes of brain tumors. This includes viruses, power lines, electronics with high radiations, etc.
5 What are the available treatments for brain tumors?
The brain and nervous system treatment is usually complex and differs depending on several factors like age, size of tumor, location, and tumor type. Most widely used treatments are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to treat brain cancer. It is given usually in cycles of short period followed by a rest period. Each cycle lasts for few weeks and recovery from the treatment is tested regularly so that the treatment proceeds. Otherwise, further treatment is stopped if there is no sign of recovery. There are many side effects of chemotherapy which include immense pain, nausea vomiting, loss of appetite, and loss of hair (alopecia), among others.
Radiation therapy, or commonly called radiotherapy, uses high energy rays to kill tumor cells. These beams also stop them from growing and multiplying.
High energy beams are radiated towards the tumor and these rays travel through the skin leading to the skull, penetrating healthy tissues and other tissues until finally reaching the tumor. This goes on 5 days in a week and each session lasts only for a few minutes.
Tiny radioactive capsules are placed inside the tumor and this reacts and kills the tumor slowly. This procedure does not require several days of hospital stay.
In spite of its name being radio surgery, this does not include any surgical process. It focuses high power energy on the targeted area and kills the tumor.
Brain cancer surgery
In this case, a surgery is done and the tumor is removed. If the tumor cannot be removed, a sample of it is obtained and further tested to identify its type.
6 Natural ways to cure brain cancer
A diet rich in folic acid prevents the spread of cancer cells. The recommended dose to be taken daily is 400mg. Foods like leafy vegetables, spinach, oranges, berries, beans, rice, etc. are high sources of folic acid.
It is an extract from indigo plant that is said to beat brain tumor. Indirubin works by inhibiting angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels.
Brazilian pepper (BP)
Consuming an extract of Brazilian pepper shows progressive improvements in patients. The extract can be made easily by boiling 300ml of water with 5-6 Brazilian pepper for an hour. Strain and drink it daily for 4-5 months for effective results.
Regular consumption of wolfberries as a mini snack for 6 months can help combat brain cancer.
Antioxidant-rich food juices prevent cancer, as well as in trying to eradicate it. Juices from apple, beetroot, wheatgrass, sweet lime, spinach, etc. can be taken regularly.