Brain cancer is characterised by the abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. As a result, cells divide and grow incorrectly to cause a tumour. Most of the brain cancer tumours are benign; others contain cancerous cells and are called malignant tumours.
Brain cancer has four stages; stage one is less severe while stage 4 is life threatening. All the stages are determined by the level of abnormal cell growth within the brain. The stage of brain cancer is determined by a biopsy of the brain. A biopsy is done under a microscope to examine the amount of cell growth and if it has spread to the surrounding tissues.
Brain cancer stage 1 is less serious and is treatable. The growth of cancer cells or tumour is slow at this stage and surrounding tissues are not affected. In those diagnosed with brain cancer, some cells still resemble normal cells within the brain. Stage 1 of cancer can be treated with surgery and the whole tumour can be removed. Chemotherapy and radiation are other treatment options to make sure all the cancer cells are eliminated.
The size of the tumour is relatively bigger in stage 2. Moreover, the cancer cells usually spread to the adjacent tissues. Stage 2 of brain cancer can be treated with surgery. Depending on where the tumour has spread, it can be removed surgically. In comparison to stage 1, the tumour may become aggressive and advance to a later stage.
Those with stage 3 brain cancer have a more aggressive tumour growth. By this stage, the cancer cells in the brain have become quite determined, cancer’s growth is evident, and surrounding tissue has been affected. As the tumour’s size is big, stage 3 cancer treatment begins with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is used to reduce the size of the tumour because the surgery cannot be performed right away. Only after the tumour has shrunk, it is removed surgically.
By stage 4, the tumour has grown aggressively. The cancer cells may spread to several parts of the body. This makes stage 4 brain cancers difficult to treat. The treatment option is based on size, location and the extent to which cancer cells have spread.
Diagnosis and Tests
Besides biopsy, (a common way to determine brain cancer) other ways to figure out brain cancer stages are X-rays and MRIs. In these tests, pictures of the inside of the brain are taken to see if the cancer is metastasized. Lumbar tap is another way to determine brain cancer. In this, a needle is inserted between the bones of the spinal column. After inserting the needle, the doctor taps into the sack that holds the spinal fluid. The fluid is withdrawn to check for cancer cells. Sometimes a single test or a combination of tests together may be used to check for cancer cells.
Despite the advancements in health care, there is no permanent cure for the condition. When a tumour begins to grow in the brain, get a clue from warning signs and consult an expert.
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