Sunday, May 15, 2022

How Do You Know If You Have Brain Cancer

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How Do You Feel About It

Signs you may have a brain tumor

You most likely will have many different emotions as you learn more about your diagnosis and begin to learn about treatment options. Its normal to wonder, Why me? or to feel sad, angry, or afraid. Physical and chemical changes from the treatment or the cancer itself can also affect your emotions. The first step is to admit to yourself how you feel. Its OK to let yourself feel the way you do.

Brain Tumors In Children

Brain tumors are the most common solid tumor in children and adolescents, affecting about 5,000 children in the U.S. each year. Several different types of brain tumors can occur in children, including astrocytomas , gliomas, ependymomas and medulloblastomas.

Learn more about brain tumors in children.

Memory Loss And Confusion

Memory problems can be due to a tumor in the frontal or temporal lobe. A tumor in the frontal or parietal lobe can also affect reasoning and decision-making. For example, you may find that:

  • Its hard to concentrate, and youre easily distracted.
  • Youre often confused about simple matters.
  • You cant multitask and have trouble planning anything.
  • You have short-term memory issues.

This can happen with a brain tumor at any stage. It can also be a side effect of chemotherapy, radiation, or other cancer treatments. These problems can be exacerbated by fatigue.

Mild cognitive problems can happen for a variety of reasons other than a brain tumor. They can be the result of vitamin deficiencies, medications, or emotional disorders, among other things.

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Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer

There is an ongoing concern by a number of people that cell phones cause brain cancer. Some reports in the popular press and some web sites suggest that avoiding cell phone use and using a macrobiotic diet will help avoid brain cancer. This situation has been exacerbated by a recent ruling to put cell phones on a list of items that “may” cause cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer . This was done because the IARC suggested that an increase in gliomas may occur with high use of cell phones. The IARC classified cell phones as group 2b carcinogens these substances are considered possibly carcinogenic, but evidence is limited in both humans and experimental animals. The report does not say that cell phones cause brain cancer.

What Can You Do About Fatigue

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The first step in helping to manage fatigue is recognizing and controlling any symptoms that make it worse, like pain, nausea, neuropathy, or constipation. Another step is to try to prevent more fatigue by carefully balancing rest and activity. If you feel tired, stop and rest. Your health care team and your caregivers can help you find ways to manage the things that can make you feel more fatigued. Tell them how you feel, and try different things to see if they help you feel less tired.

Some medicines can make you feel tired, too. They may be needed, but you may want to talk with your health care team to find out if switching to new ones or taking them at different times may help. You might even be able to stop taking certain medicines that arent helping or arent needed any more.

Keep safe when youre active. If youre unsteady on your feet, make sure you have help when walking. You may feel safer if you have a walker or wheelchair. Your doctor or hospice team can help you get the equipment you need to be comfortable and safe. If you’re shaky, don’t use sharp utensils or other things that might cause injury. If you’re able to drive, be careful to not drive when you are feeling fatigue.

Plan activities around the times you feel the best and have the most energy. Sit outside, listen to music, go for a ride in the car, spend time watching a meal being prepared distractions and stimulation of your senses may help ease fatigue.

You can learn more in Cancer-related Fatigue.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Brain Cancer Treatment

    Side effects of brain cancer treatment vary with the treatment plan and the overall health status of the patient. Most treatment plans try to keep all side effects to a minimum. For some patients, the side effects of brain cancer treatment can be severe. Treatment plans should include a discussion of potential side effects and the likelihood of them developing, so the patient and their caregivers can make appropriate treatment decisions in conjunction with their medical team. Also, if side effects develop, the patient has some knowledge of what to do about them such as when to take certain medicines or when to call their doctor to report health changes.

    Surgical side effects include an increase in current symptoms, damage to normal brain tissue, brain swelling, and seizures. Other symptoms of changes in brain function such as muscle weakness, mental changes, and decreases in any brain-controlled function can occur. Combinations of these side effects may happen. The side effects are most noticeable shortly after surgery but frequently decline over time. Occasionally, the side effects do not go away.

    How A Brain Tumor Is Diagnosed

    A brain tumor can be diagnosed using imaging tests that view the structure of the brain, along with a biopsy, which can carefully assess a sample of a suspected brain tumor under a microscope. Generally, before these tests are ordered, a physical examination is done to determine whether there are neurological changes that suggest the presence of a brain tumor. In the end, diagnosis of a brain tumor can involve an MRI, CT scan, blood tests, lumbar puncture, and biopsy.

    There are several types of brain tumors, and some are cancer, which grows quickly and can invade nearby tissue, while some are not. These diagnostic tests can help a doctor tell whether or not a person has a brain tumor and, if present, what type of brain tumor it is.

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    Caring For Your Child

    Parents often struggle with how much to tell a child who is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Though there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this, experts do agree that it’s best to be honest but to fit the details to your child’s degree of understanding and emotional maturity.

    Give as much information as your child needs, but not more. And when explaining treatment, try to break it down into steps. Addressing each part as it comes visiting various doctors, having a special machine take pictures of the brain, needing an operation can make the big picture less overwhelming. The members of the brain tumor care team are experts at helping families talk with the child and siblings if a family needs help with this.

    Kids should be reassured that the brain tumor is not the result of anything they did, and that it’s OK to be angry or sad. Really listen to your child’s fears, and when you feel alone, seek support. Your hospital’s social workers can put you in touch with other families who’ve been there and may have insights to share. You can also connect with other caregivers or cancer survivors online.

    Also be aware that it’s common for siblings to feel neglected, jealous, and angry when a child is seriously ill. Explain as much as they can understand, and enlist family members, teachers, and friends to help keep some sense of normalcy for them.

    Everything Else You Need To Know

    Brain Cancer Symptoms — 10 Signs you may Have it & 5 Tips on Preventing It!

    What causes a tumor? Schwartz says some genetic disorders can lead to brain tumors. “But the majority of tumors arise in people with no known risk factors or predisposing factors,” he explains. Children and adults over 60 are more likely to develop tumors, but “everyone is at risk at any age,” he adds.

    Despite what you may have heard, cell phones are not a known risk factor. “That’s a common misconception, but there’s no compelling evidence that pushes us to consider a link between cell phones and tumors,” he says.

    For large or malignant brain tumors, treatments could involve surgery, medications, radiation, or chemotherapy. The good news: Not all brain tumors are serious. “Many tumors are small and benign, and require no treatment,” Schwartz explains. “If we find one, we’ll just monitor it for growth or changes.”

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    Warning Signs Of A Brain Tumor You Should Know

    This article originally appeared in Prevention magazine. Read the original here.

    Neurosurgeon Theodore Schwartz, M.D.Brain tumors come in all shapes and sizesand so do their symptoms.

    “The key to a tumor’s symptoms really depends on its location,” says Theodore Schwartz, MD, a neurosurgeon with the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.

    For example, if you have a tumor near the part of your brain that controls your arm or your eyesight, your symptoms may include limb weakness or blurry vision, Schwartz says.

    When you consider that every cell in your brain can form a tumorand that your brain controls or interprets information from every part of your bodythe list of possible tumor symptoms encompasses “almost anything imaginable,” Schwartz says.

    Still, some signs and symptoms are more common than others. Here’s what to watch out for.

    About The Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour

    Symptoms depend on where the tumour is in the brain and how slowly or quickly it grows. They may develop suddenly, or slowly over months or even years.

    As a tumour grows, it can press on or grow into nearby areas of the brain. This can cause symptoms because it stops that part of the brain from working normally. Symptoms can also happen because the tumour is increasing the pressure inside the skull.

    These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than a brain tumour. But it is important to get them checked by your GP straight away.

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    Other Types Of Brain Tumors

    • Hemangioblastomas are slow-growing tumors, commonly located in the cerebellum. They originate from blood vessels, can be large in size and often are accompanied by a cyst. These tumors are most common in people ages 40 to 60 and are more prevalent in men than women.
    • Rhabdoid tumors are rare, highly aggressive tumors that tend to spread throughout the central nervous system. They often appear in multiple sites in the body, especially in the kidneys. They are more prevalent in young children, but also can occur in adults.

    Brain Tumor Vs Brain Cancer

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    All brain cancers are tumors, but not all brain tumors are cancerous. Noncancerous brain tumors are called benign brain tumors.

    Benign brain tumors typically grow slowly, have distinct borders and rarely spread. Benign tumors can still be dangerous. They can damage and compress parts of the brain, causing severe dysfunction. Benign brain tumors located in a vital area of the brain can be life-threatening. Very rarely, a benign tumor can become malignant. Examples of typically benign tumors include meningioma, vestibular schwannoma and pituitary adenoma.

    Malignant brain tumors are cancerous. They typically grow rapidly and invade surrounding healthy brain structures. Brain cancer can be life-threatening due to the changes it causes to the vital structures of the brain. Some examples of malignant tumors that originate in or near the brain include olfactory neuroblastoma, chondrosarcoma and medulloblastoma.

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    How To Talk To Others About Your Cancer

    In general, tell the people close to you how youre feeling. This is sometimes hard to do, but its healthy to let others know about your sadness, anxiety, anger, or other emotional distress. If you dont feel comfortable doing this, you may want to find a support group or a mental health counselor to help you. Your support group or counselor will be there for you at a regular time set aside for you to focus on and talk about your concerns and issues. Some people prefer workshops, peer groups, or religious support.

    Find what works for you

    Try different things until you find what works for you. When you keep other people involved and informed about your illness, it helps ease your burden. Friends and family can share their strength and concern with you and with each other, which can be helpful for everyone involved.

    I could not do this without my support group. Theyre going through this with me and we understand each other in ways that no one else can. My family tries to understand how I feel, but my support group friends know how I feel theyre fighting cancer, too.Lee, age 56

    If you or your family normally dont like to talk about certain personal issues, remember that its OK not to open up to everyone. Some people are very careful about who they talk with and what they talk about. This might be a good time, though, for you to start to work on becoming more open with trusted loved ones.

    Giving details

    Learn your trigger points

    Ask how they feel about it

    If Your Brain Tumour Comes Back

    Some brain tumours are cured with the first round of treatment. But unfortunately, its common for brain tumours to come back some time after they were first treated. When a cancer comes back its called recurrence.

    It can be a great shock to find out that your brain tumour has come back. You might feel upset, frightened and confused. Some people find that it helps to know what to expect.

    Your treatment team might talk to you about having further treatment. Even if it isnt possible to cure your cancer, more treatment can help to:

    • keep the cancer under control for a while
    • help to control the symptoms

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    Causes And Risk Factors For Brain Cancer

    The exact cause of brain cancer is unknown. However, factors that can increase your risk of brain cancer include exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation and a family history of brain cancer.

    Cancer in another part of your body is also a risk factor for developing a tumor in the brain, though these arent called brain cancer. They are cancers that have spread to the brain.

    Cancers that commonly spread, or metastasize, to the brain include:

    • melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer

    Other factors that might be related to developing brain cancer include:

    • increased age
    • long-term smoking
    • exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer
    • working with elements that can cause cancer, such as lead, plastic, rubber, petroleum, and some textiles

    Where To Go If You Need Brain Tumor Treatment

    How I Discovered My Brain Tumor

    If you are diagnosed with a brain tumor, Dr. Ahluwaliasays youll get the best care at a brain tumor center of excellence.

    These centers specialize in multidisciplinary treatment forbrain tumors, he explains. You have neurosurgeons who treat patients withbrain tumors every day of the week. You also have radiation oncologists and neuro-oncologistsor medical oncologists who primarily treat patients with brain tumors.

    These centers usually offer opportunities to participate in clinical trials, too. So if a tumor has limited treatment options, a brain tumor center can give you access to promising new drugs or immunotherapies that may effectively treat it.

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    Getting Ready To Talk To Others

    Only you can decide when to tell your friends and family you have cancer. People are very sobered by the news that someone has cancer. Most people need and want to talk to someone when they find themselves in this kind of situation. It may be even more important for single people without supportive family members nearby to let close friends know whats happening. Think ahead so you can tell them what they can do when they ask how they can help people who live alone often have a few extra needs compared to those who live with others.

    Sometimes, telling those closest to you helps you take in the reality of whats happening. Some people find that by talking, they begin to solve problems and think about other issues as their family and friends ask questions.

    Think about how much you want to share. You might want to explain what kind of cancer you have, which treatments you might need, and your outlook . As you talk with others, you may want to write down the questions that come up so that you can discuss them with your cancer care team.

    Can Mri Detect Cancer

    MRI scans can help medical professionals detect cancer. And whole-body magnetic resonance imaging has become available to the general public for cancer screening.

    If you find out early that you have a tumor or cancer, you can start treatment earlier, giving you a head start and improving your prognosis. This way, you also avoid more costly cancer treatment.

    Oncologists use whole-body MRI more and more often to manage treatment for patients whose cancer is likely to metastasize to bone marrow, such as prostate and breast cancers. Oncologists and radiologists also use WB-MRI in lymphoma follow-up because of its superior diagnostics compared to positron emission tomography.

    As an imaging tool, WB-MRI minimizes ionizing radiation exposure.

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    What Is Radiation Treatment For Brain Tumors

    Radiation therapy kills brain tumor cells with high-energy x-rays, gamma rays, or protons.

    Radiation therapy usually follows surgery. The radiation kills tumor cells that may remain in the area. Sometimes, people who can’t have surgery have radiation therapy instead.

    Doctors use external and internal types of radiation therapy to treat brain tumors:

  • Internal radiation therapy : Internal radiation isn’t commonly used for treating brain tumors and is under study. The radiation comes from radioactive material usually contained in very small implants called seeds. The seeds are placed inside the brain and give off radiation for months. They don’t need to be removed once the radiation is gone.
  • Some people have no or few side effects after treatment. Rarely, people may have nausea for several hours after external radiation therapy. The health care team can suggest ways to help you cope with this problem. Radiation therapy also may cause you to become very tired with each radiation treatment. Resting is important, but doctors usually advise people to try to stay as active as they can.

    Also, external radiation therapy commonly causes hair loss from the part of the head that was treated. Hair usually grows back within a few months. Radiation therapy also may make the skin on the scalp and ears red, dry, and tender. The health care team can suggest ways to relieve these problems.

    Questions to ask your doctor before starting radiation treatment

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