Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brain Cancer Survival Rate - Know Your Chances

Known to be one of the most incurable types of cancer, brain cancer survival rate may not be something a patient would really want to hear. Different medical sources would tell you different results based on different aspects to consider but one thing remains true until today - brain cancer survival rate for most patients suffering from the disease is pretty low.

The average life duration of patients with this type of cancer is about 1-2 years following confirmed diagnosis. The main reasons attributing to this very low survival percentage are the nature of the disease and the lack of known treatment. This type of cancer affects the most vital part of a human body - the nervous system. Cancer cells in the brain rapidly proliferates at a speed that is dangerously faster than the proliferation speed of other cancers, therefore, the cancer can easily infect the entire nervous system within a short duration of time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adult Brain Tumor Risks, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells that have multiplied out of control. There are many different types of brain tumors. Some are benign, or non-cancerous, while others are classified as malignant, or cancerous. Symptoms you experience and treatment options depend largely on the type of tumor as well as its size and location.

Primary brain tumors are those that originate in the brain or tissues surrounding it. These tumors are much less common than secondary tumors, which occur when cancer from another part of the body metastasizes or spreads to the brain. While any type of cancer may do this, melanoma and cancers of the breast, colon, kidney, and lung are the most common to metastasize to the brain.

Researchers have not been able to determine exactly what causes brain tumors to form. Only a few risk factors have been documented. Exposure to radiation therapy of the head may put you at a higher risk for developing brain tumors. Certain genetic syndromes may increase your risk as well. Typically, there is not a clear indication of what caused the tumor to form. Research continues to determine if cell phones may contribute to the formation of brain tumors. At this time, no clear conclusions have been made linking the two.

There are no reliable screenings that detect brain tumors before symptoms appear. Patients may suffer from a variety of symptoms before visiting their physician for diagnosis. The size, location, and rate of growth of the tumor often determine what symptoms occur. Some of the most common symptoms may include:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Returning to School After a Cancer Diagnosis

"Back to normal" means "back to school" for most children who have been treated for a brain or spinal tumor. When your child returns to school, you want him or her to be treated as normally as possible and it will take the cooperation of both the school and the health care professionals working with your child to make this happen.. To make the transition back to school an easy one the teachers and school nurse should be encouraged to prepare classmates by providing them with information about the disease and treatment and answering any questions they may have. Let the teachers and classmates know what to expect and give them an opportunity to express their concerns and feelings. It is important for teachers to communicate to other students that cancer cannot be caught and that radiation treatments do not make a child who has them "radioactive." These types of open conversations may eliminate children's curiosity and make it easier for them to accept your child back into the class and help them to accept the differences in their classmates and make them more empathetic and willing to help. Some medical centers provide an education team consisting of a child life worker and health care practitioner who can help prepare the class for your child's return, which in some cases may be helpful.

In order to make the re-entry into the scholastic environment less abrupt for your child, the students and the teachers, a slow, transitional approach to reentering school can be helpful, perhaps only having lunch, attending specific classes, or going on a field trip with the class prior to a full-time return to school. It is important to update your child's teachers and the school nurse with whatever medical information will help them help your child in school. The more knowledgeable and familiar the teachers are with how your child functions, the more the classroom environment can be adapted to your child's special needs, no matter what level of school they may be returning.

Before your child returns to school, set up a meeting with the teacher, school nurse, and principal. This meeting will give you an opportunity to discuss any special requests or concerns you might have. Suggest that the meeting also include health care professionals such as neuropsychologists familiar with brain tumor treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and shunts and give your child's teacher a copy of Cancervive Teacher's Guide for Kids with Cancer. You might want to meet or speak with the teacher on a weekly basis to monitor your child's progress; it might also be helpful to connect with your other children's teachers as well. Remember to keep an open line of communication with your child's school. The role the teacher plays is very significant to your child's developmental adjustment and recovery. The teacher and/or school nurse must inform you of any communicable diseases, such as chickenpox, that any class member has contracted. If your child is still in treatment and has not had chickenpox, exposure to this virus can be dangerous, and you should contact your physician immediately. (Chickenpox is worrisome primarily after chemotherapy; doctors rarely worry after radiation therapy.) If informed, teachers can deal successfully with problems concerning your child's self-image and relationships with peers as they arise.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Do Cell Phones Really Cause Brain Cancer?

The cell phone today is more ubiquitous than ever, and scientific studies continue to try to distinguish the relationship between cellular phones and cancer.

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health showed increased brain activity in participants exposed to cell phone radiation. The study used PET scans to measure the brain's sugar level, and found increased activity in regions closest to the phone's antenna after 50 minutes of exposure. Although the increased activity isn't directly linked to harmful effects, the human brain's evident sensitivity to the phone's electromagnetic waves does raise further questions.

In May 2011, the World Health Organization reclassified cell phone radiation exposure as "possibly carcinogenic," a label that places it in the same category as chloroform and lead. The most extensive case control study of cellular phones and cancer, the Interphone study, conducted across 13 countries for a decade found that the highest grade of mobile phone users-those who used their phones for 30 minutes a day over 10 years or more- were twice as likely to develop glioma, a malignant brain tumor. These results are alarming, particularly because the study failed to take into account that children and young adults are far more susceptible to cell phone radiation than adults.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Brain Cancer Treatment Centers Abroad

A brain tumor occurs when there is an abnormal level of cell growth within the brain. A brain tumor can be either benign or malignant; these being non-cancerous and cancerous tumors respectively. Brain cancer is extremely serious and once had a very low rate of survival, but recent medical advancements have increased the chances of the survival.

One of the largest problems with brain cancer in certain countries is actually receiving the needed treatment. Costs are very expensive and it is difficult to find coverage. The hospitals, insurance companies, and financial aid organizations put up far too much red tape that must be gone through, and precious time is wasted. People are forced to wait far too long while their claim is still pending, and many are eventually denied help.

A miracle for some people has been the treatment for brain cancer abroad. In North America and some European countries, the waiting time for treatment and overall cost is so overwhelming that it negatively affects the odds of survival. But there are many foreign countries where patients can receive treatment at a much faster and reliable speed, and at more reasonable costs.

Getting treatment abroad does not mean that you will have to receive less effective treatment. There are many foreign countries with highly capable medical centers with professionals who were trained in the United Kingdom or the United States and have a good rate of success with cancer treatments.

Another great benefit of getting treatment abroad is that patients can visit new and exciting places while receiving care. It helps the patient to be more relaxed, optimistic, and happy during this time. There's no point spending every moment worrying. A change in scenery, beautiful sights, exiting things to do and see, and knowing that you're now receiving the treatment that you need, can help keep you in a positive mind-set.