Brain Cancer: Causes, Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Brain Cancer Causes, Types, Symptoms & Treatment

The term brain cancer although often used by the general public is actually not the term frequently used by the medical community.  A primary brain tumor is a term used by the medical community for tumors originating from the brain.  

In children of any age, most brain tumors are primary tumors.  In adults, regardless, most tumors in the brain have extended from the lung, breast, or other parts of the body. When this occurs, the condition is not brain cancer. The tumor in the brain is a secondary tumor and it is named after the organ or tissue from which it began.

What is Brain Cancer/Tumor

A brain Cancer/tumor is any intracranial tumor created by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division, usually either found in the brain itself, in the cranial nerves, in the brain envelopes, skull, pituitary and pineal gland, or from cancers primarily located in other organs.  

Although they can impact any part of the brain, primary brain tumors in children are typically located in the posterior cranial fossil; and in grown-ups, in the anterior two-thirds of the cerebral hemispheres.

Some types of cancerous brain tumors can grow very fast. These malignant tumors can disrupt the path your body works. Brain tumors can be life threatening and require to be treated as soon as they’re noticed.

Types of brain cancer/tumors

Brain cancer/tumors are named based on where they’re located in your brain or upper spine. Cancer/Tumors are also given a grade. The grade of a tumor tells you how fast it’s predicted to grow. Grades range from 1 to 4, with grade 1 growing the slowest and grade 4 growing the fastest.

Some of the most common types of brain tumors include:


Gliomas are brain tumors that initiate in the glial cells and account for about 3 out of 10 cases of brain cancer.


Astrocytomas are a kind of glioma that include glioblastomas, the fast-growing type of brain tumor.


Usually mild and slow-growing, meningioma tumors grow in the tissue that surrounds your brain and spinal cord and are the most typical type of brain tumor in adults.


Gangliogliomas are slow-growing tumors located in the neurons and glial cells that can usually be treated with surgery.


Craniopharyngiomas are slow-growing tumors that develop between the pituitary gland and the brain and usually press on optic nerves, resulting in vision difficulties.


Schwannomas are slow-growing tumors that develop around the cranial nerves and are almost always mild.


Medulloblastomas are fast-growing tumors that develop on the brain’s nerve cells and are more typical in children


The development of specific types of primary brain tumors or brain cancers has been related to exposure to radiation, particularly if exposure took place in childhood.  

It is commonly believed that higher radiation doses increase the risk of ultimately developing brain cancer.  Radiation-induced brain tumors can take anywhere from ten to thirty years to develop. 

Exposure to vinyl chloride and/or ionizing radiation is the only understood risk factor; other than these there are no known environmental elements that can be associated with brain tumors. The so-called tumor suppressor gene mutations and deletions are incriminated in some states of brain tumors. 

Causes of Brain Cancer

Brain tumors that initiate in the brain

Primary brain cancer/tumors form in the brain itself or in tissues near to affected cell, such as in the brain-covering membranes (meninges- its membranes), cranial nerves, pituitary gland or pineal gland.

Primary brain cancer/tumors initiate when normal cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell’s DNA holds the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The mutations tell the cells to grow and separate rapidly and to resume living when healthy cells would die. The effect is a mass of abnormal cells, which forms a tumor.

In adults, primary brain tumors are much less familiar than secondary brain tumors, in which tumors begins elsewhere and applies to the brain.

A person diagnosed with brain cancer or brain tumor will experience treatments that include surgery (surgical resection), which is suggested for the bulk of brain tumors. It is irregular for a primary brain tumor to be cured without surgical resection.  

Cancer that initiates elsewhere and spreads to the brain

Secondary (metastatic) brain tumors are tumors that result from cancer that starts elsewhere in your body and then extends(metastasizes) to your brain.

Secondary brain tumors most frequently appear in people who have a history of cancer. Infrequently, a metastatic brain tumor may be the first signs & symptoms of tumors that began elsewhere in your body.

In adults, secondary brain tumors are far more familiar than are primary brain tumors.

Any cancer can spread to the brain, but familiar types include:

What are the symptoms of brain cancer?

The symptoms of brain tumors rely on the size and location of the brain tumor. Brain cancer shares many signs & symptoms with several less serious illnesses, particularly in the early stages.

Many of these symptoms are incredibly ordinary and improbable to reveal brain cancer. But if you’ve been experiencing these signs & symptoms for more than a week, if they’ve come on unexpectedly, if they’re not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicines, or if you’re alarmed by any of them, it’s a good idea to have them inspected out by a doctor.

Common brain cancer symptoms include:

  • headaches that are normally worse in the morning
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • a lack of coordination
  • a lack of balance
  • difficulty walking
  • memory lapses
  • difficulty thinking
  • speech problems
  • vision problems
  • personality changes
  • abnormal eye movements
  • muscle jerking
  • muscle twitching
  • Certain unexplained passing out, or syncope
  • drowsiness
  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • seizures

The projection for brain cancer is greatly improved by early detection. If you experience any of the above symptoms with regularity or think that your symptoms might be more noteworthy, see a physician as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Risk factors

In most individuals with primary brain tumors, the reason for the tumor isn’t clear. But doctors have determined some aspects that may increase your risk of a brain tumor.

Risk factors include:

Exposure to radiation

Individuals who have been exposed to a variety of radiation called ionizing radiation have an increased risk of brain tumor. Examples of ionizing radiation include radiation treatment used to treat cancer and radiation exposure generated by atomic bombs.

Family history of brain cancer/tumors

A small portion of brain tumors appears in individuals with a family history of brain tumors or a family history of genetic syndromes that raise the risk of brain tumors.

How is brain cancer treated?

There are many treatments for a brain tumor. Treatment for primary brain cancer will be distinct from treatment for cancers that have metastasized from other sites.

You may receive one or more treatments depending on the type, size, and location of your brain cancer/tumor. Your age and available health will also be factors.

Brain cancer/tumor treatments include:


Brain surgery is the most standard treatment for brain tumors. Depending on the location of the tumor, it might be able to be released fully, partially, or not all.


These medications can eliminate cancer cells in your brain and shrink your tumor. You might acquire chemotherapy orally or intravenously.

Radiation therapy

This procedure uses high-energy waves, like X-rays, to destroy tumor tissue and cancer cells that can’t be surgically extracted.

Combination therapy

Receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the same time is called combination therapy.

Biologic drugs

These medications boost, direct, or restore your body’s natural defences against your cancer/tumor. For instance, immunotherapy is a generally used class of biological medication that works by increasing your immune system’s capacity to target and fight cancer.

Other medications

Your doctor may specify drugs to treat symptoms and side effects caused by your brain tumor and cancer treatments.

Clinical trials

In progressive cases of brain cancer that don’t reply to therapy, clinical trial therapies and drugs may be used. These are therapies that are still in the testing phase. Clinical trials for brain cancer could contain an immunotherapy trial and a CAR T cell therapy trial.


You might require to attend rehabilitation sessions if your cancer or treatment has affected your capacity to talk, walk, or perform other daily functions. 

Rehabilitation contains physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other therapies that can help you relearn movements.

Alternative therapies

There isn’t much scientific research that helps using alternative therapies to treat brain cancer. But some healthcare professionals do suggest steps like a balanced diet and vitamin and mineral supplementation to replace nutrients lost from your brain tumors therapy. 

Talk with your doctor before you alter your diet, take any supplements or herbs, or follow any other alternative therapies.

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