Just under 1% of the human race will be susceptible to being diagnosed with either brain cancer, or another cancer associated to the nervous system sometime during their life-time. Put in layman’s terms, that is 1 in every 161 men and women throughout the world will in some way be affected by the disease.
When trying to determine whether someone has brain cancer or not, it helps to have a basic understanding of what exactly the brain is, and what role the brain plays in the body.
The brain is the control center of the nervous system (the computer), which is made up of soft tissue (60% fat), and where the cerebral (the main part of the brain) has between 15 – 35 million neurons ([nerve cells] a core component of the nervous system) that are each connected to synapses (structures) that permit electrical or chemical signals to be passed to other cells.
The brain controls what someone does or does not do, by using a highly complex message system that passes messages backwards and forwards via a network of nerves. These may be things that someone is conscious of, such as walking and talking, or things that the body does automatically, like breathing and reflexes, etc. So when abnormalities exist within the brain, they tend to show-up in other parts of the body.
Typical brain cancer symptoms may include such things as: visionary problems, weakness, and paralysis (a stroke) due to the loss of brain cells, although symptoms can vary considerably, and may well depend on a patient’s specific problem. When the brain tumor presses on the nerves, a sufferer may well experience problems such as not being able to think straight, such as with Alzheimer’s disease.
Apart from the general tests to check whether someone has brain cancer, such as: blood, urine, diagnostic, lab, and pathology tests, three other major tests are used to conclude whether someone has the disease.
1. CT Scans (Computed Tomography) – a widely used high-resolution three-dimensional imaging scanner that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional images.
2. MIR Scans (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – used after a contrast (a special dye that makes certain areas of the body show-up clearer) has been introduced into the body. The MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves which are then translated into images by a computer.
3. PET Scans (Positron Emission Tomography) – a specialized imaging technique that uses radioactive substances to produce three-dimensional images.
In most cases, some type of treatment will be offered to brain cancer patients, either to correct the problem, or to try to improve its functionality. Physical therapies, medicines, and surgery are usually the most common treatments offered for sufferers of brain cancer, and other cancers related to the nervous system.