Brain cancer is a disease of the brain in which malignant cells arise in the brain tissue. Brain cancers may be divided into two main types. Primary brain cancer is the one that starts in the brain. Metastatic brain cancer starts somewhere else in the body, gradually spreads and moves to the brain. There is a difference between brain cancers and brain tumors. Brain tumors are not always malignant or cancerous while cancers are always malignant tumors.
Signs and symptoms of brain cancers
Brain cancer causes many different symptoms that usually include strong headaches that may be worse in the morning. Patients often complain about nausea, vomiting and radical changes in the ability to walk, speak, hear and see. Problems with memory and judgment are also present in many cases. The other symptoms involve seizures, muscular cramps and twitching, accompanied with numbness or tingling of the arms, legs, and fingertips. However, none of this symptoms are a sure sign of brain cancer. Many other health conditions may also cause similar symptoms. Symptoms of the brain cancer appear when a tumor makes pressure on a nerve or makes a damage, swelling or fluid retention in particular brain areas.
Causes of brain cancers
There is a lot of controversy regarding the exact causes of brain cancer. There is no firm scientific evidence to explain why one person develops a disease while another doesn’t. However, some common risk factors may increase one’s chances of developing a brain tumor.
Exposure to radiation or dangerous chemicals may put one at the higher risk of developing a brain cancer. Nuclear radiation, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and acrylonitrile are considered to be especially dangerous. There are many people in nuclear, plastic and textile industry that are being exposed daily to these hazardous agents.
People with family members who have brain cancer may be more likely to develop this disease. Age also plays a significant role in determining a risk factor for brain cancer. Most of the patients first diagnosed with brain cancer are older than 70 years. On the other hand, brain cancers remain second most common cancer in children. For an unexplained reason, brain cancers are more common among Caucasian race, and more common in males than in females.
Other causes of brain cancers are the excessive use of tobacco, drugs and HIV/Aids infections. There was a lot of controversy about the use of cell phones and their supposed effect on formation of brain cancers. However, no scientific studies have found a conclusive evidence to support this hypothesis.