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Brain Cancer - New Advancement

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Brain Cancer Types

Scientist are making great strides in the treatment of brain cancer while the average person asks the question exactly "What is Brain Cancer? There are two main types of brain cancer, one which is called primary brain cancer, because it actually starts in the brain.

The second type is metastatic brain cancer, as it starts somewhere else in the body and moves to the brain. Not all brain tumors are cancerous or malignant, but if they are the cells grow very quickly. Fortunately 75 percent of brain tumors are benign.

According to the National Cancer Institute doctors can seldom explain why one person develops a brain tumor and another does not, so the exact cause of brain tumors is really unknown.

Primary brain cancer cells begin its growth in the substance of the brain, spinal cord or nerves. The metastatic brain tumors spreading from other parts are most often from lung cancer, breast cancer or colon cancer.

Brain Tumors in Any Area


Statistics about Brain Tumors

Over 700,000 people in the US are living with a primary brain tumor or one in the nervous system, and 25,000 are primary malignant and 53,000 are non-malignant tumors.

Metastatic brain tumors typically occur in 32 percent of people with cancer.

Approximately 80,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with the primary or metastatic brain tumor this year.

Among children under 20 years of age, brain tumors are the most common form of a solid tumor and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths following leukemia.

Cancer treatment is very complicated because there are over 120 different types of brain tumors.

Common Types of Brain Tumors - Adults

  1. Gliomas are tumors which grow in the glial cells, helping to support the critical areas of the brain and are responsible for 42% of all adult brain tumors. These tumors are categorized by the types of cells they affect.
  2. Astrocytomas are star shaped cells which protect neurons, and cancers in this category are graded from 1 to 4, with the growth being more aggressive at number four. The grade of this cancer determines the outcome for the patient.
  3. Oligodendrogliomas cells make myelin, which is a fatty substance that protects nerve cells. This type of cancer primarily affects people over the age of 45 and makes up 4% of brain tumors. It is typically sensitive to treatment and half of the patients with this type of cancer are alive after five years.
  4. Ependymoma is a rare type of cancer (making up 2%) and the ependymal cells line the pathways which carries cerebrospinal fluid throughout the, brain and spinal cord.
  5. Meningiomas affect the tissue that forms a protective outer covering of the brain and spine and one quarter of brain and spinal tumors are meningiomas, but up to 85% of them are be benign.

Cancer Symptoms in Children

Medulloblastomas are a common brain tumor in children, usually diagnosed before the age of 10. It occurs in the cerebellum, which is crucial to muscular coordination and movement.

Some scientists believe this cancer arises from fetal cells that remain in the cerebellum after birth, but the tumors grow quickly and can invade other portions of the brain. Fortunately this cancer is rare but does affect about 500 children annually in the United States.

The children's symptoms are similar with a few difference from adults:

  • Headaches occurring in the morning, which improve throughout the day
  • Headaches that occur while coughing or during physical activity
  • Vomiting soon after awakening
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Seizures
  • Swollen optic nerve
  • Increased sleep

Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Symptoms of Brain Cancer for Adults

The following list is some of the more common brain cancer symptoms and signs:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches, which are usually worse in the morning
  • Attention to changes in your ability to talk, hear or see
  • Problems with balance or walking
  • Problems with thinking or memory
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs
  • Muscles jerking or twitching

Brain and CNS Types of Tumors Chart

source STDBF

source STDBF

Treatment of Cancer

Currently surgeons can remove about 99% of most brain tumors, but the small cells are left to multiply swiftly, often resisting treatment. One of the more exciting research projects is a new vaccine that scientist say will actually help cure a patient of braincancer. It is still in the research stage but looks promising. It is specifically designed to affect glioblastoma

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation, which is only available at eight centers in the United States. It has been found to be very effective in treating pediatric cancers. Its precision and ability to target tumors makes it very effective, plus there are less treatment side effects.

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Treatment depends upon the following factors:

  • The size, type, and grade of the tumor
  • Whether the tumor is putting pressure on vital parts of the brain
  • If the tumor has spread to other parts of the CNS or body
  • Possible side effects
  • The patient’s preferences and overall health

At the present time most brain tumors are treated by surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy used individually or in combination. There are also hormonal treatments, which are drugs designed to prevent cancer growth by preventing the cells from their continued growth and division. There is also targeted therapy, antibodies and biological response modifiers, which all work in a similar fashion.

While complementary and alternative medicines are not typically practiced by conventional western medicine, they are used effectively in some other countries and include herbal, animal derived and mind-body approaches to treating cancer.

At this point the scientific evidence about the efficacy of these treatments is either inconclusive or refuted. It is well documented, however, that our minds are powerful and we might have more control over what is happening in our bodies than we realize.

Certainly meditation and yoga have been shown to be very effective in stress reduction and other types of diseases.

Killing Cancer - New Brain Cancer Treatment Targets Tumors


Since no two brain tumors are exactly alike, the prognosis is dependent upon several factors, which include the type of tumor, the location, the response to treatment, an individual's age and overall health status.

An individual with a primary malignant brain or central nervous system tumor will typically live five years or longer. For children, over 72% will survive a brain tumor, but they may be left with life long-term side effects.

Obviously brain cancer is something that is scary to even think about, but it is good to be aware of the most common symptoms.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 27, 2014:

moonlake, Thanks for adding those syptoms. This is surely an awful thing to happen to anyone. I appreciate your comments.

moonlake from America on August 26, 2014:

Another symptom of brain cancer is a swollen red face, dizzeness to the point of passing out. Most causes of lung cancer metastasize to the brain.

Interesting article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 29, 2014:

Adriean, You are absolutely right. Actually 75% of brain tumors are benign, but cancerous tumors tend to grow very quickly. Thank you for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 08, 2012:

Thank you for your comment.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2012:

braincancersux, I wish you a complete recovery and thank you so much for your comments.

braincancersux on February 04, 2012:

Great article! I was diagnosed with a glioma at age 33. I had surgery in 2009 and had 98% of a Grade II Oligo removed. No radiation or chemo for me yet, just being monitored every four months. I love that you're getting awareness out there!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 28, 2011:

moneycop, This cancer is not as common as some others but very serious as the treatments are limited. We all hope that we never get this cancer. Thank you for your comment.

moneycop from JABALPUR on August 28, 2011:

my eyes were stretched while reading this...really to whom this happens...who he/she bears......cud u elaborate Ependymoma...i haven't got it clearly. thanks!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 21, 2011:

Martie, I can understand your fear when you lose a close relative that died from this awful disease. I appreciate your comments.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on August 20, 2011:

Pamela, your hubs are always such a pleasure to read. You have the wonderful talent of given the most important facts short and sweet and so easy to understand.

My mother’s sister had died of brain cancer at the age of 48, so I have a neurotic fear for this horrible disease, triggered by the first sign of a headache.

Thank you for this very useful and interesting article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 18, 2011:

Hello, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 17, 2011:

This is an awesome and interesting hub. Thank you for doing so much hard work in research and give us all these information. Keep well and take care.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2011:

Denise, I didn't realize so many children suffered either until I did the research and its heartbreaking. Thank you for your comments.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on August 14, 2011:

Excellent information here, Pamela. It is so sad to know that there are children who also suffer from these tumors. I'm glad you pointed out the symptoms for both. Voted up and across.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2011:

ahsima, They don't know what cause primary brain cancer, so just healthy living is the best thing to do. Thanks for your comments.

ahsima on August 13, 2011:

Thanks for sharing the great hub and symptoms too. It is well informed and updated me. Is there any precaution there to overcome this.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 12, 2011:

Cagsil, Thanks for your added comments.

prasetio, I agree with your beliefs and yes, family and friend support is necessary. Thanks so much for your comments.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 11, 2011:

Pamela, you never fail to astound, amaze me with fabulous work like this one. You are a master in writing such of medical information like this one. I know that cancer is one of deadly disease, we have more care about this and better know earlier . But the most important thing is we can give support to someone who got cancer, even for friend or our family. They need support to stay alive, but I believe God never sleep and there's another way to cure cancer. I hope the best for us. Vote up as always.


Raymond D Choiniere from USA on August 11, 2011:

Hey Pamela, just funding in and of itself is going to become limited in the future, if things presently continue on course. Not just America, but Globally, funding it going to be an issue. New advancements only come when funding the fundamental infrastructure(necessary companies). Yes, any newly developed vaccines are wonderful, providing the outcome is positive more so than negative. I hope it works as well. You're welcome too. :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 11, 2011:

Cagsil, I think you are writing about funding in America and in Europe also. I think the vaccine is exciting news and hope it works. Thank you for your comments.

Raymond D Choiniere from USA on August 11, 2011:

Very sweet article Pamela. Excellently written. This is a subject I haven't looked into for a while now. New advancements are key, but in the near future, at least in America, funding is going to become limited. That's due to other factors. It was definitely an interesting read. I've bookmarked it, voted up. :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 11, 2011:

Nell, I'm glad you found the hub interesting even though it is a tough topic. Thanks for your comments.

Nell Rose from England on August 11, 2011:

Hi, this is a well documented hub, sadly so many people do suffer from this, and I must admit that I didn't realise a lot of childrens were caused by fetal matter, really well done, nell

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 11, 2011:

stefanwirawan, Thank you for your comments.

stefanwirawan1 from Malaysia on August 11, 2011:

A well informative and structured article.thanks for information

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 10, 2011:

Hanna, Its sad but true. Thanks for your comment.

HealthyHanna from Utah on August 10, 2011:

I didn't know brain cancer was such a common cancer.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 10, 2011:

always exploring, I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. I appreciate your comments.

Om Paramapoonya, I agree that it is a scary topic. I appreciate your comments.

tipoague, I haven't heard about so many people in one family with brain cancer. I am sure glad they are in remission but what a stressful time for the whole family. Thanks for your comments.

Tammy on August 09, 2011:

This is a very well written and informative hub. I have a brother-in-law who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After they found his, both of his children were diagnosed with brain tumors. They have undergone many treatments and are in remission now. It is scary to think how common this is becoming. Thanks for sharing this information.

Om Paramapoonya on August 09, 2011:

This is such an interesting and scary topic. Thanks for sharing this useful info with us, Pamela. :)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 09, 2011:

Thank you Pamela, this really hits home, my Sis. Bea died from brain cancer ( metastatic from cervical cancer ) Very interesting article, well researched, and easy to understand.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 09, 2011:

Cloveleaf, Thanks so much for your comment.

parrster, It is awful to lose a child this way and brain cancer is an awful disease. I appreciate your comments.

Coolmon, Thank you for your comments.

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on August 09, 2011:

Interesting article, I didn't know there were that many types of cancers. Rated up!

Richard Parr from Australia on August 09, 2011:

A friend of ours had a child with brain cancer. They first realised something was wrong when one of the child's eye's developed an off-kilter appearance. Sadly within a few months it claimed her life. Cancer anywhere is awful, but there is a certain elevated horror to cancer of the brain. Voted up and interesting.

Louise from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 09, 2011:

Pamela, thank you for sharing this hub - useful information to all.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 09, 2011:

Happyboomernurse, I'm glad you liked the hub and I appreciate your comments.

JY, thank you for the compliment as it's very much appreciated.

dallas, Thanks so much for your comment.

Cardisa, I appreciate your very thoughtful comment.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on August 09, 2011:

Very Well researched and presented Pamella. A well written article that will be helpful to many.

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on August 09, 2011:

Thanks for sharing. Flag up!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on August 09, 2011:

Comprehensive, clearly written and well documented hub about brain cancer treatments and advancements. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Voted up, useful and interesting.

John Young from Florence, South Carolina on August 09, 2011:

Pam, a very well written and informative hub. Good Job!

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