National Brain Tumor Awareness Month

According to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world focused on cancer research, each year more than 23,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with brain cancer and other nervous system cancers, out of the nearly 78,000 brain tumors diagnosed each year in this country.

A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain or close to your brain.  Many different types of brain tumors exist.  Some brain tumors are noncancerous (benign), and some brain tumors are cancerous (malignant).  Brain tumors can begin in your brain (primary brain tumors), or can begin in other parts of your body and spread to your brain (secondary or metastatic brain tumors).  The growth rate, as well as location of a brain tumor, determines how it will affect the function of your nervous system.

The least aggressive type of brain tumor is often called a benign brain tumor.  Benign brain tumors originate from cells within or surrounding the brain, do not contain cancer cells, grow slowly, and typically have clear borders, and do not spread into other tissue.  Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells and often do not have clear borders.  They are considered to be life threatening because they grow rapidly and invade surrounding brain tissue.

Brain tumor symptoms can vary according to tumor type and location.  Possible side effects include:

– Headaches

– Seizures

– Anemia

– Fatigue

There are about 120 different types of brain tumors.  They are generally named after the type of cell they developed from.  Anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiforme are the most common types of brain tumors in adults.  These tumors are malignant and can spread to other parts of the brain.

At the Cancer Treatment Center at Hazleton, radiation therapy is used to treat brain tumors painlessly and noninvasively.  Radiation therapy serves as an effective treatment for primary brain tumors and metastatic brain tumors, working within and around cancer cells to limit their ability to multiply.  During treatment, high-energy X-rays are delivered to brain tumors safely and effectively.  Side effects are usually minimal, and most patients return to their normal activities immediately after each treatment.  Several factors determine candidacy for brain tumor radiation therapy treatment including your age, overall health, type, location and size of the tumor, as well as how aggressive the tumor appears to be.

For more information about how the Cancer Treatment Center at Hazleton treats brain tumors, please click here.