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Brain Cancer

What is Brain Cancer?

Brain cancer is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the brain.

Types of Brain Tumors

There are two types of brain tumors: primary brain tumors and metastatic (secondary) brain tumors.

Primary brain tumors originate in the brain. Primary brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. Both types take up space in the brain and may cause serious symptoms. The most common symptoms and complications are vision loss, hearing loss and stroke. A noncancerous primary brain tumor is life threatening when it compromises vital structures.

Metastatic (secondary) brain tumors are brain tumors that that originate from cancer cells that have spread from other parts of the body.

Types of Brain Cancer

Primary brain cancer rarely spreads beyond the central nervous system. Death from primary brain cancer is a result of uncontrolled tumor growth within the limited space of the skull.

Metastatic brain cancer indicates advanced cancer and has a poor prognosis.

All cancerous brain tumors are life threatening (malignant) because they have an aggressive and invasive nature.

What Causes Brain Cancer?

Exposure to vinyl chloride is known to cause brain cancer. Vinyl chloride is a toxic chemical compound frequently used in manufacturing. It is a combustible, colorless gas. Vinyl chloride is also known as chloroethene, chloroethylene, and ethylene monochloride. A known human carcinogen, vinyl chloride can cause liver cancer, angiosarcoma, and other health problems in people who are exposed to it.

People are exposed to vinyl chloride by either breathing in air containing vinyl chloride or consuming water contaminated with it.

Other Causes of Brain Cancer

Genetic mutations and inherited diseases that are associated with brain tumors include the following:

  • pituitary adenoma
  • patients with a history of melanoma, lung, breast, colon, or kidney cancer

Symptoms of Brain Tumors

There are many symptoms of brain tumors. The symptoms will depend on the part of the brain the tumor is located. The most common symptoms of brain tumors are:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • behavioral and emotional changes
  • impaired judgment
  • loss of hearing
  • impaired sense of smell
  • memory loss
  • seizures
  • muscle weakness
  • paralysis on one side of the body
  • reduced mental capacity
  • vision loss

Treatment options for Brain Cancer

Brain cancer can be treated. The kinds of treatment used will depend on the age of the patient, the stage of the disease, the type and location of the tumor, and whether the cancer is a primary tumor or brain metastases.

Treatment usually involves any combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.


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