A tumor is a collection of aberrant cells that may generate a new growth or were there before one is born (congenital). Tumors form when something goes wrong with the genes that control cell development, causing cells to expand and divide uncontrollably. Tumors can develop anywhere in the body. Brain and spinal cord cancers are caused as a result of abnormal growth of cells in the tissue that makes up the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord (CNS).
Primary CNS tumors are growths that arise in the spinal cord and brain. They can be cancerous or benign. Cancerous cells which make their way elsewhere in the body after breaking free from the tumor may travel to the CNS and generate metastatic tumors, also known as secondary tumors. They are much more prevalent in patients with CNS tumors and the odds of developing this cancer are more in adults than in youngsters.
There are around 120 different forms of brain and spinal cord cancers. Most of which are named as per the cell they resemble or by their site of origination. This cancer is not contagious and is preventable.
Causes of the brain and spinal cord tumor
The primary cause/trigger of brain and spinal cord cancer is yet to come under the radar of medical science. All we know currently is the most possible triggers of this cancer includes:-
– Defect in genes
– Exposure to hazardous materials- Immune defects
– Exposure to radiation
Symptoms of brain and spinal cord tumor
Brain and spinal cord tumors produce a wide range of symptoms, making identification difficult. Symptoms vary according to tumor type, location, size, and growth rate. Certain symptoms are very specific because they are caused by injury to specific parts of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms usually appear gradually and intensify as the tumor grows.
Brain tumor symptoms
The most visible symptom of a brain tumor in an infant is a quickly enlarging head or a bulging crown. Some of the most prevalent signs of a brain tumor in children include
– Headaches that may worsen or become more frequent
– Pressure sensations within the skull
– Vomiting and nausea
– Vision issues that appear suddenly
A tumor in adults and adolescents can cause a variety of symptoms and behavioral changes.
The most common sign of a brain tumor is headaches. Headaches might worsen with time, occur more frequently at random intervals.
– Seizures. Adult-onset seizures with no underlying reason are a crucial warning indication of a brain tumor.
– Vomiting and nausea
– Problems with vision or hearing
– Personality, behavior, and cognitive changes associated with psychotic episodes, as well as difficulties in communicating, thinking, and remembering-
– Motor issues, such as weakness or paralysis, a lack of coordination, or a progressive loss of sensation in limbs
– Dizziness, difficulty walking, awkwardness, or lack of equilibrium are all symptoms of balance issues
Symptoms of spinal cord tumor
– Pain can occur at a specific point along the spinal cord or it might also radiate to other sections of the body. Because of nerve compression, this pain can be acute and produce a tingling or burning sensation. The discomfort is frequently persistent, increasing, and severe. A frequent early indication of a spinal cord tumor is back pain.
– Numbness or sensory alterations could include decreased skin temperature sensitivity and increasing numbness or loss of sensation, especially in the legs.
– Muscular weakness, stiffness (in which the muscles remain stiffly flexed), and loss of bladder/bowel control are all examples of motor difficulties and loss of muscle control.
Risk factors for brain and spinal cord cancer
A primary brain/spinal cord tumor can occur in anyone, but the general risk is quite low. Males are more likely than females to get brain tumors, Elderly and middle-aged people are at a greater risk of developing this cancer.
Brain tumors are rare in children but if found, they are more common in children under the age of nine, and some cancers run in families. The majority of childhood brain tumors are primary tumors.
Race (Caucasians are more likely to have a CNS tumor) and occupation are two other contributors to the development of a primary brain or spinal cord tumor. Employees who are exposed to ionizing radiation or specific chemicals on a regular basis, such as those used in building supplies, plastics, and textiles, have a higher risk of acquiring a brain tumor.
Malignant tumors necessitate treatment, although small benign tumors may merely necessitate observation. Surgical removal, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, or a combination of methods may be used to treat a brain or spinal cord tumor.
Initially, a CNS tumor may be treated with a range of treatments to treat or alleviate symptoms, including: –
– Seizure prevention medicines
– Medicines to reduce edema and increase blood flow
– antidepressants to address anxiety or despair caused by a tumor diagnosis
– anti-nausea medications
Following the initial treatment, the methods used to treat cancer might include one of these or a combination of them as the case might be.
– Neurosurgery: Surgery is typically used as the first procedure to get tissue samples for diagnosis and to remove as much tumor as is safely possible. If the tumor is declared benign or low grade, surgery would be the only therapy one requires. Doctors frequently propose follow-up treatment, such as radiotherapy along with chemotherapy.
– Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy often entails administering repeated exposures of high-energy beams including X-rays or protons in order to destroy cancer cells or prevent them from growing. Radiation therapy can help to reduce the size of the tumor. It can be used to treat tumors that are surgically inaccessible or tumor cells that may linger after surgery.
– Radiosurgery: Radiosurgery is typically a one-time procedure that employs many, precisely concentrated beams of radiation aimed at the tumor in the central nervous system from multiple angles. It does not injure the patient, but it, like other types of radiation therapy, impairs a tumor cell’s capacity to grow and divide. It is widely used to treat cancers that are surgically inaccessible and may be employed at the end of standard radiation therapy.
– Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy employs powerful medications to either kill or prevent cancer cells from developing or spreading. These medications are normally administered orally, intravenously, or by a catheter or port, and they pass through the body to the malignant cells. The treatment regime for a person will be based on the kind of cancer, drug(s) to be taken, and the number of cycles required. Chemotherapy is administered in multiple rounds to more efficiently injure and destroy cancerous cells while also allowing normal cells to recover inflicted on them in the course of treatment of cancer.
– Targeted drug therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment in which medications are used to specifically target genes and amino acids involved in tumor cell development. This slows uncontrolled development and reduces tumor cell formation.