- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Types
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - Surgery
- Patient Comments: Brain Tumor - In Children
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- Brain tumor facts*
- What is the brain?
- What are the tumor grades and types?
- Tumor grade
- Types of primary brain tumors
- What are the risk factors for brain tumors?
- What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?
- How are brain tumors diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a brain tumor?
- What type of surgery is available for brain tumors?
- Radiation therapy for brain tumors
- Chemotherapy for brain tumors
- What about a second opinion for brain tumor treatment?
- Nutrition during brain tumor treatment
- What supportive care is available for patients and caregivers?
- What about rehabilitation after brain tumor treatment?
- What about follow-up care after brain tumor treatment?
- Sources of support
- Taking part in cancer research
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What is the brain?
The brain is a soft, spongy mass of tissue. It is protected by:
- The bones of the skull
- Three thin layers of tissue (meninges)
- Watery fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) that flows through spaces between the meninges and through spaces (ventricles) within the brain.
The brain directs the things we choose to do (like walking and talking) and the things our body does without thinking (like breathing). The brain is also in charge of our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), memory, emotions, and personality.
A network of nerves carries messages back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. Some nerves go directly from the brain to the eyes, ears, and other parts of the head. Other nerves run through the spinal cord to connect the brain with the other parts of the body.
Within the brain and spinal cord, glial cells surround nerve cells and hold them in place.
The three major parts of the brain control different activities:
- Cerebrum: The cerebrum uses information from our senses to tell us what is going on around us and tells our body how to respond. It controls reading, thinking, learning, speech, and emotions.
The cerebrum is divided into the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body. The left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the body.
- Cerebellum: The cerebellum controls balance for walking and standing, and other complex actions.
- Brain stem: The brain stem connects the brain with the spinal cord. It controls breathing, body temperature, blood pressure, and other basic body functions.