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General Health : Diseases Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Brain cancer: What you need to know
By Jimmy Downs
Sep 28, 2008 - 9:18:17 AM

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Credit: wikipedia
Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy Friday suffered a seizure and was rushed to hospital yesterday.   He was back home Friday morning, Boston Globe reports.


He was taken to cape Cod Hospital after the hospital received an emergency call at about 5:12 p.m. from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port.


Family representatives said doctors believed this incident was caused by a change in medication.


Kennedy was diagnosed with a dangerous brain cancer in May.   He has undergone surgery and is in the process of recovery.   


Brain cancer is a dangerous disease.   We compiled the following for those who are interested in more details on the disease.


The common questions and answers about brain cancer


What are brain cancers?


There are many types of brain cancers or gliomas and all begin in glial cells.


Who are at risk of brain cancer?


Like many other diseases, causes for brain cancers are not well known.   Doctors can seldom explain why one person develops a brain cancer and another does not.   But some factors are believed to have something to do with brain cancer development.


Being male: Generally, brain cancer is more commonly found in males.

Race: Brain cancers occur more often among white people than people of other races.

Age: Obviously the older a person is, the higher his risk for brain cancer.   Most brain cancers are detected in people ages 70 or older.   However, children are at high risk of brain cancer, which is the second most common cancer in children, particularly those younger than 8, only after leukemia.

Family history: people with family members who have brain cancer are at high risk.

Exposure to environmental pollutants: radiation, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride, acrylonitrile, and probably cell phone increase risk of brain cancer.


What are symptoms of brain cancer?


The symptoms depend on cancer size, type and location. They include headaches, nausea or vomiting, changes in speech, vision or hearing, problems balancing or walking, changes in mood, personality or ability to concentrate, memory problems, muscle jerking or twitching, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.


How is brain cancer diagnosed?


Diagnosis of brain cancers relies on physical exam, CT scan, and MRI.  Doctors may also perform other tests such as angiogram, skull x-ray, spinal tap, myelogram, and biopsy to help diagnosis of brain cancer.


How would a person with brain cancer be treated?


People with brain cancers will be referred to cancer specialists.   Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, patients may receive surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.   Treatment will also be given to make patients feel better including symptom management, supportive care or palliative care.


What is the prognosis for brain cancers?


The average survival time for patients with brain cancer can range from less than a year for very advanced and aggressive types to about five years for other types that are less aggressive.


How many people suffer each year from brain cancer and how many die from the disease?


An estimated 21,810 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with brain tumor in 2008 and 13,070 are expected to die, according to the National Cancer Institute.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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