Brain Cancer

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Brain cancer facts

  • Brain cancer can arise from many different types of brain cells (primary brain cancer) or occur when cancer cells from another part of the body spread (metastasize) to the brain.
  • Causes of brain cancer are difficult to prove; avoiding compounds linked to cancer production is advised.
  • Symptoms of brain cancer vary but often include weakness, difficulty walking, seizures, and headaches. Other common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, or a change in a person's alertness, mental capacity, memory, speech, or personality.
  • Tests for brain cancer involve a history, physical exam, and usually a CT or MRI brain scan; sometimes a brain tissue biopsy is done.
  • Treatments usually are directed by a team of doctors and are designed for the individual patient; treatments may include surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, often in combination.
  • Side effects of treatments range from mild to severe, and patients need to discuss plans with their treatment team members to clearly understand potential side effects and their prognosis (outcomes).
  • Depending on the brain cancer type and overall health status of the patient, brain cancer frequently has only a fair to poor prognosis; children have a somewhat better prognosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2014

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Read more about headaches and seizures.

Brain Cancer Symptoms: Headaches and Seizures

Most people seek medical care to make certain that nothing bad is happening in their body. They seek reassurance from their doctor that all is well. Unasked questions that linger fill patients and their families with dread until their concerns are addressed.

"Is my abdominal paindue to appendicitis?"

"Am I having a heart attack?"

And the 800 pound gorilla in the room: "Is there 'something really bad' causing my headache?"

For golf legend Seve Ballesteros, there is something bad happening in his body. Two weeks ago, he experienced a grand mal seizure for the first time. As part of the evaluation of a new onset seizure, a CT scanof his brain was done and revealed a large tumor.