- 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 tests are used 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 (outcome) 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 brain cancer symptoms and signs?
Although there are few early signs, the most common symptoms of brain cancer are
Other common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, or a change in a person's alertness, mental capacity, memory, speech, or personality; or hallucinations. These symptoms can also occur in people who do not have brain cancer, and none of these symptoms alone or in combination can predict that a person has brain cancer. Cancer can occur in any part of the brain (for example, occipital, frontal, parietal, or temporal lobes, brainstem, or meningeal membranes). A few brain cancers may produce few or no symptoms (for example, some meningeal and pituitary gland tumors).
What tests are used to diagnose brain cancer?
The initial test is an interview that includes a medical history and physical examination of the person by a health-care provider. The results of this interaction will determine if other specific tests need to be done.
The most frequently used test to detect brain cancer is a CT scan (computerized tomography). This test resembles a series of X-rays and is not painful, although sometimes a dye needs to be injected into a vein for better images of some internal brain structures. Another test that is gaining popularity because of its high sensitivity for detecting anatomic changes in the brain is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This test also shows the brain structures in detail better than CT. If the tests show evidence (tumors or abnormalities in the brain tissue) of brain cancer, then other doctors such as neurosurgeons and neurologists that specialize in treating brain ailments will be consulted to help determine what should be done to treat the patient. Occasionally, a tissue sample (biopsy) may be obtained by surgery or insertion of a needle to help determine the diagnosis. Other tests (white blood cell counts, electrolytes, or examination of cerebrospinal fluid to detect abnormal cells or increased intracranial pressure) may be ordered by the health-care practitioner to help determine the patient's state of health or to detect other health problems.