Brain Cancer

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideUnderstanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, Pictures

Understanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, Pictures

What can I do to help my family (and me) cope with my diagnosis of brain cancer?

Discuss your concerns openly with your doctors and family members. It is common for brain cancer patients to be concerned about how they can continue to lead their lives as normally as possible; it is also common for them to become anxious, depressed, and angry. Most people cope better when they discuss their concerns and feelings. Although some patients can do this with friends and relatives, others find solace in support groups (people who have brain cancer and are willing to discuss their experiences with other patients) composed of people who have experienced similar situations and feelings. The patient's treatment team of doctors should be able to connect patients with support groups. In addition, information about local support groups is available from the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp.

Is it possible to prevent brain cancer?

Although there is no way to prevent brain cancers, early diagnosis and treatment of tumors that tend to metastasize to the brain may reduce the risk of metastatic brain tumors. The following factors have been suggested as possible risk factors for primary brain tumors: radiation to the head, HIV infection, and environmental toxins. However, no one knows the exact causes that initiate brain cancer, especially primary brain cancer, so specific preventive measures are not known. Although web sites and popular press articles suggest that macrobiotic diets, not using cell phones, and other methods will help prevent brain cancer, there is no reliable data to support these claims.

Where can I get more information about my type of brain cancer?

There are many types of brain cancer. For more specific information about a cancer type, questions and discussions with the patient's treatment team are the best way to obtain specific information. Also, there are many online resources available about brain cancer types. Often, these resources provide additional detailed information about pathology, statistics, treatments, and support groups for brain cancer patients. A few of the web sites are listed below.

"Brain Tumors," National Cancer Institute

Clinical Trials, National Cancer Institute

REFERENCES:

American Cancer Society. "Brain/CNS Tumors in Adults." <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BrainCNSTumorsinAdults/index>.

Switzerland. World Health Organization. "IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possible Carcinogenic to Humans." May 31, 2011 <http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf>.

United States. National Cancer Institute. "Adult Brain Tumor Treatments." Mar. 31, 2011. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/adultbrain/Patient>.

United States. National Cancer Institute. "Cell Phone and Cancer Risk." Mar. 28, 2016. <http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/cell-phones-fact-sheet>.

United States. National Cancer Institute. "SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Brain and Other Nervous System Cancer." <http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/brain.html>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2016

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