- Patient Comments: Brain Cancer - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Brain Cancer - Experience
- Patient Comments: Brain Cancer - Prognosis
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- Brain cancer facts
- What is brain cancer?
- What are grades of brain cancers?
- What are the types of brain cancers?
- What is brain cancer staging?
- What is metastatic brain cancer?
- What causes brain cancer?
- Do cell phones cause brain cancer?
- What are brain cancer symptoms and signs?
- What type of doctors treat brain cancer?
- What tests do doctors use to diagnose brain cancer?
- What is the treatment for brain cancer?
- Are there any home remedies for brain cancer?
- What are the side effects of brain cancer treatment?
- What is the prognosis of treated brain cancer?
- What can I do to help my family (and me) cope with my diagnosis of brain cancer?
- Is it possible to prevent brain cancer?
- Where can I get more information about my type of brain cancer?
Quick GuideCancer 101 Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Understanding Cancer
What are the types of brain cancers?
The most common primary brain tumors are usually named for the brain tissue type (including brain stem cancers) from which they originally developed. These are gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (medulloblastomas). Gliomas have several subtypes, which include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas, and choroid plexus papillomas. These names all reflect different types of cells in the normal brain that can become cancers. When the grades are coupled with the tumor name, it gives doctors a better understanding about the severity of the brain cancer. For example, a grade III (anaplastic) glioma is an aggressive tumor, while an acoustic neuroma is a grade I benign tumor. However, even benign tumors can cause serious problems if they grow big enough to cause increased intracranial pressure or obstruct vascular structures or cerebrospinal fluid flow.
What is brain cancer staging?
Brain cancers are staged (stage describes the extent of the cancer) according to their cell type and grade because they seldom spread to other organs, while other cancers, such as breast or lung cancer, are staged according to so-called TMN staging which is based on the location and spread of cancer cells. In general, these cancer stages range from 0 to 4; with stage 4 indicating the cancer has spread to another organ (highest stage is 4).
What is metastatic brain cancer?
Cancer cells that develop in a body organ such as the lung (primary cancer tissue type) can spread via direct extension, or through the lymphatic system and/or through the bloodstream to other body organs such as the brain. Tumors formed by such cancer cells that spread (metastasize) to other organs are called metastatic tumors. Metastatic brain cancer is a mass of cells (tumor) that originated in another body organ and has spread into the brain tissue. Metastatic tumors in the brain are more common than primary brain tumors. They are usually named after the tissue or organ where the cancer first developed (for example, metastatic lung or breast cancer tumors in the brain, which are the most common types found). Occasionally, an abbreviated name may be used that often confuses people; for example, "small cell brain cancer" actually means "small cell lung cancer that has metastasized to the brain." People should not hesitate to ask their doctor about any terms they do not understand or about the origin of their cancer.