What is brain cancer?


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Know the basics

What is brain cancer?

Brain cancer is the growth of abnormal cancerous cells (malignant tumors) in the brain. There are two types of brain cancer.

  • Primary brain cancer, which is less common, originates from the brain.
  • Secondary brain cancer, also known as metastatic brain cancer, starts in other parts of the body and spreads to the brain. This is more common.

Brain cancer cannot be cured but your survival rate can be increase by early detection. Talk to your doctor on how you can get the proper screenings

How common is brain cancer?

Secondary brain cancer is more common in adults while primary brain cancer is more common in children and young adults, usually under the age of 20 years.  Brain cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of brain cancer?

The common symptoms of brain cancer are …

  • Headaches, often in the morning;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Changes in your ability to talk, hear, or see;
  • Problems with balance or walking;
  • Problems with thinking or memory;
  • Feeling weak or sleepy;
  • Changes in your mood or behavior;


There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Your symptoms do not resolve or worsens;
  • Your headaches are frequent and interferes with your daily activities;
  • If you have frequent seizures.

Know the causes

What causes brain cancer?

In most primary brain cancer, the cause is unclear. Some primary brain cancer may be caused by a mutation in the tissue cells. This causes the abnormal growth of cancerous cells at a fast rate. There are many different types of primary brain cancers. They all depend on the type of cells involved.

Secondary brain cancer is caused by cancer cells from another part of the body spreads (metastasizes) to the brain. This is usually more common in people who have a history of cancer. Any cancer can spread to the brain but the most common types of cancers include:

  • Breast cancer;
  • Colon cancer;
  • Kidney cancer;
  • Lung cancer;
  • And melanoma.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for brain cancer?

There are many risk factors for brain cancer, such as:

Although it hard to determine the exact cause of brain cancer, doctors have identified some risk factors. These factors may include:

  • Your age. Your risk for brain tumors increase as you age while there are some types of tumors that occur exclusively in children.
  • Exposure to radiation.
  • A family history of brain cancer.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is brain cancer diagnosed?

To determine a proper diagnosis, your doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Medical and physical exam;
  • Brain tumor biopsy to examine the brain tissue cells;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
  • Or computed tomography scan (CT scan).

How is brain cancer treated?

Treatment options for brain cancer may include a one or more of the following:


In surgical approach, type of tumor and the tumor position to decide on the surgery to remove the entire tumor can be healed or not. In addition, the surgery also allows diagnosis of cancer and to reduce pressure in the brain.


Radiation treatment is done by professionals and radiotherapy is often used for tumor resection cannot (or cannot be completely removed), or after surgery any brain cancer.


Chemotherapy is a common measure for cancer treatment but is not used for primary brain tumors. Anti-epileptic drugs such as phenytoin are commonly used before and after surgery to prevent seizures. For the swelling in the brain, the doctor may prescribe steroid (dexamethasone).

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage brain cancer?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with brain cancer:

  • Find support groups to help you manage your daily routines and give you emotional support.
  • See you doctor regularly to monitor your condition.
  • Communicate with your doctor of any new symptoms or if your symptoms worsen.
  • See a doctor immediately if you have a seizure or a new headache occurs that previously did not have to prevent disease complications.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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