What is Brain Cancer?
Brain cancer begins forming as a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Brain tumors make up about 85-90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. The location and type of brain tumor will determine the growth rate and how your body is affected. There are many different types of brain tumors that vary in how aggressive they are. The common types of brain cancer include:
- Mixed gliomas
- Mixed glial and neuronal tumors
- Primitive neuroectodermal tumors
Many cancer patients have tumors in other parts of their body that spread to the brain. These cases are called secondary or metastatic brain tumors.
Brain Cancer Symptoms
Brain cancer symptoms can vary for each patient depending on several factors such as the type, size, and location of the tumor. Common symptoms experienced by patients are:
- Persistent headaches
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Issues with hearing, speech, or vision
- Some patients will experience seizures
- Difficulty with balance
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
What Causes Brain Cancer?
There is no exact known cause for brain cancer, but there are factors that can increase the risk for developing brain cancer. It is known that primary brain tumors are uncommon in adults compared to secondary brain tumors. The exact cause of brain cancer is unknown, but it occurs when there is a mutation in DNA of the cells within the brain. When these cells continue to grow and reproduce a mass forms, which develops into a tumor. Mutations can be inherited from family or developed over the course of one’s lifetime.
Brain Cancer Risk Factors
The risk factors of brain cancer are:
- Exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation
- Family history of brain cancer
- A previous cancer diagnosis
- Old age
- Long-term smoking
- Exposure to pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
- Having an Epstein-Barr virus infection
Brain Cancer Prevention
There is no known way of preventing brain cancer. However, it is recommended to avoid risk factors to decrease your risk of developing cancer. Also, following screening guidelines is key to ensure you are cancer free, or if cancer has developed that it is caught in the early stages, when successful treatment is more likely than in advanced stages.
If you are at risk of brain cancer or If symptoms are present, in order to diagnose brain cancer, a doctor may perform a neurological examination using imaging tests. Different methods can be used such as a CT, MRI, or PET scan, a lumbar puncture, which involves collecting a small sample of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, or a brain biopsy, a surgical procedure that involves removing a small part of the tumor to perform diagnostic testing.
Brain Cancer Treatment
Treatments for primary brain cancer differ from treatments for secondary brain tumors because metastatic cancer involves treatment that is more focused on the original cancer site. Treatment amount and type also depend on the type, size and location of the brain tumor.
Some common treatment options for brain tumors include:
- Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy
- Biologic Drugs or additional drugs
- Clinical Trials
- Alternative Therapies
Brain Cancer Clinical Trials
The main reasons patients enroll in in brain cancer clinical trials are because they feel like they can help themselves and future brain tumor patients. Also, patients feel like their chances of survival seem better with the proposed experimental treatment and that the benefits outweigh the risks of participating in a clinical trial.
There are over a hundred current brain cancer clinical trials that are currently recruiting and several can be beneficial to you. Our team of patient advocates, who are oncology nurses, and our artificial intelligence based clinical trial matching system will find the best option for you.
With just a few clicks, you can see your clinical trial matches now. Click here to use our advanced clinical trial match tool.
How Do We Help Brain Cancer Patients?
Massive Bio offers an independent cancer treatment analysis as well as free clinical trial matching for brain cancer patients. Our patient advocates work closely with patients to gather information on their current medical status, and then will provide a list of options from available cancer clinical trials close to your home.
We can also provide a comprehensive case analysis through our Virtual Tumor Board from cancer specialists. The Virtual Tumor Board (VTB) is comprised of highly specialized oncologists from nationally-recognized Cancer Centers of Excellence. In just 7-10 days after receiving your medical records, we can get you a treatment plan without having to travel far distances and use your valuable time.