most cancers, brain tumours do not show symptoms until they attain a certain size.
You may also experience other
symptoms depending on the type and location of the tumour:
sudden vision loss, speech
problems, or other changes in the senses.
localised weakness or
paralysis, especially in the limbs.
loss of coordination or
Brain cancer that originates
in the brain itself is rare. It is more common that cancer elsewhere in the body
eventually spreads to the brain. It can happen at any age.
Benign tumours are brain
tumours whose cells do not spread. While malignant tumours, or cancers cells multiply
uncontrollably and spread throughout the body.
Benign or malignant, no brain
tumour is harmless. Either one can exert pressure on delicate brain tissue, produce severe
pain, cause irreversible neurological damage, and threaten life. The symptoms and outlook
for recovery will depend on the location of the tumour.
The causes of primary brain
cancer are unknown. Research indicates that there may be -
Diagnosis of a brain tumour
begins with a complete physical examination and neurological testing.
Curing brain cancer depends on
where the tumour is located and how far the malignancy has spread. Whenever
possible, a brain tumour is treated surgically. If it can be removed, the
patient may recover fully. After surgery, radiation therapy and sometimes
chemotherapy are prescribed to make sure stray cancer cells are killed.
But some brain tumours are
located too deep in the brain to be removed without causing severe brain
damage. In these cases, treatment is likely to be chemotherapy and a refined
radiation therapy. Both these treatments are unlikely to cure the cancer,
but they may slow the growth of cancer cells, control symptoms, and let the
patient live longer.
When cure is impossible, the
main focus will be on providing comfort and preserve neurological function.
(For further information see
our Cancer Section).
The side effects of this
disease and the various traditional treatments can become stressful and
crippling. There are some alternative therapies that can provide relief -
hydrotherapy, yoga, visualisation and meditation. Massage and reflexology,
may also help.
When to seek further