Brain cancer is among the most serious forms of this deadly disease. Every year approximately 70,000 people are diagnosed with tumors in their brains. Not all tumors are cancerous; some are benign and just need to be watched closely to make sure they don't spread. Still, an estimated 15,000 people die from brain cancer each year. More men are affected than women, and brain cancer can occur at any age. Treating brain cancer is extremely difficult, and in some cases tumors are in parts of the brain where they can't be safely removed.
Early diagnosis is the key to treating brain cancer. The symptoms that first appear more often than not will drive the person to see a doctor. Some signs to watch out for are:
- Headaches: When you are frequently getting new headaches that you have never had before.
- Vision changes: Odd eye movements, blurred or double vision could be signs that the tumor is affecting your optic nerve.
- Loss of motor skills: Extreme clumsiness or falling often.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Seizures: Only if you aren't epileptic or prone to convulsions.
- Speech problems: Trouble forming words correctly.
- Cognitive problems: Memory loss, confusion, or poor concentration are cognitive.
- Weakness or numbness: Sometimes leading all the way down the body to your feet.
- Change in personality: Frontal lobe tumors cause this in people.
- Hormonal disorders: The pituitary gland is easily affected by a tumor
The top three treatments for the disorder are to watch and wait to see if there is growth. Taking a slower attitude towards treatment is sometimes the best way to handle it. The second option is to undergo radiation or chemotherapy to target the cancerous cells that may have spread to other places in the body. Or a combination of the two. The third option depending on what area of the brain is affected the patient might be suitable for surgical removal of the tumor. Either way an oncologist neurology specialist will best be able to chart the course of treatment that will best help the patient.
It is very hard to target exactly what group of people are at risk to get the cancer. Overall a healthy lifestyle, and not working in an environment that is known for causing cancer is a person's best course to evade getting the disease. A person's family history also comes into play, so if either of your parents or grandparents had brain cancer then the likelihood that you might get it is stronger than a person without any family history of cancer.
The best way to monitor your health is to see your family doctor on a regular basis for all important preventative yearly checkups. That way you are in the best position to catch something amiss early on before it is able to spread. Most people who are diagnosed with early stage brain cancer are often seeing their doctor for unrelated reasons when tests are first recommended.