Brain Cancer - Medical Negligence Lawyers
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Brain Cancer - Medical Negligence
Brain cancer involves cancer of one of the many different types of cells in the brain. The main symptoms of brain cancer include behavioral changes, seizures, confusion, sleepiness and sleepiness. If you have any concerns about your diagnosis or treatment, please use the helpline to speak to a brain cancer medical negligence lawyer at no cost and with no further obligation.
Not all brain tumors are cancerous. Cancer of the brain tends to grow out of control, sometimes metastasizing to other body areas. They tend to spread aggressively. A brain tumor is benign but can cause brain problems like brain cancer.
Primary brain cancers are those that originate in the brain. They can begin as meningiomas, gliomas, pituitary adenomas, schwannomas and medulloblastomas. The term, gliomas, can refer to several different types of tumor. They are named for the type of cell or from the part of the brain that the cancer originated in.
Metastatic brain cancer involves a tumor or tumors in the brain that began somewhere else in the body and traveled to the brain. About 25 percent of tumors that begin elsewhere will metastasize in the brain. Brain tumors are not common, affecting 1 out of every 5000 individuals.
The exact cause of brain cancers is unknown. There are genetic causes, toxins in the environment, cigarette smoking, and radiation as some of the reasons why a person might get brain cancer. Some other possible risks have been implicated:
- HIV disease
- Heritable conditions
- Prior head radiation
Symptoms are not a factor in all brain tumors. Some are completely asymptomatic and are found on autopsy. There can also be many symptoms of brain cancer, but these can mimic many other diseases. Sometimes diagnostic testing is the only way to know if you have brain cancer. The symptoms can be due to tumor pushing on other parts of the brain or to swelling of the brain itself.
Common symptoms include:
- Problems walking
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Changes in mental status
- Vision changes
- Speech difficulties
- Emotional and intellectual changes
These symptoms usually come on gradually and can be missed in the beginning. If the symptoms come on more quickly, it can seem much like a stroke.
Treatment options for brain cancer are based on a personís general health, age and the characteristics of the tumour. Treatment for brain tumour should be individualized. It should be based on your age, general health, and the size, location, and type of your tumour. The treatment is complicated. Most treatment plans require the use of many different types of specialists and many modalities.
Brain surgery is one modality for brain cancer. The surgery removes as much of the tumour as possible without destroying much healthy brain tissue. There is now knifeless surgery, or stereotactic surgery, that can get rid of tumour tissue without opening the skull. It makes use of an MRI or CT scan to find the tumour and employs high energy radiation from different angles to kill the cancer.
You may receive steroids to reduce brain swelling and anti-seizure drugs to control the possibility of seizures. A shunt may be placed to remove excess cerebrospinal fluid that can build up around the brain.
Radiation therapy is a common treatment for brain cancer. It uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It can be used for those who cannot have surgery or to kill off brain cells left behind after the bulk of the cancer was removed in therapy. It is good for local metastases and distant metastases in other body areas. It does not do an harm to cells a distance away from the abnormal cells.
Radiation can be given as external beam radiation or as brachytherapy, in which a radioactive capsule or beads are inserted into the area where the cancer is removed in surgery. It provides strong radiation in a localized way. Brain cancer is especially sensitive to radiation.
Chemotherapy can be used in brain cancer, especially if it is metastatic. A single drug or multiple drugs can be used. Medications can be given by IV or by shunt which is placed in the brain. Chemotherapy is given in cycles so as to have the best effect with the least amount of side effects.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here