Sunday, May 26, 2024

Top 4 Reasons for Brain Cancer and Top 4 Ways to prevent it


Brain cancer is an overgrowth of the brain cells (neurons) through the formation of brain tumors. A tumor is a collection of cells that are growing abnormally. All brain cancers are tumors, though not all tumors can be called cancer. Tumors may be of two types: benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Primary brain cancer initially forms in the brain itself. Secondary brain cancer forms elsewhere in the body and spreads to the brain tissue. Tumors are categorized into grades that go from 1 to 4, which indicate how fast they may be growing. Some of the most common types of brain tumors include Glioblastoma, Astrocytoma, Meningioma, Ganglioglioma, Craniopharyngiomas, Schwannomas, Medulloblastoma, etc. 

Some cancerous brain tumors grow very quickly and disrupt the entire body’s functions. Brain tumors are life-threatening, and it is important that they are treated as soon as they are detected. Depending on the tumor’s location, size, and type, the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor may differ. The symptoms can include severe headaches, seizures, difficulty thinking, speaking, or understanding language, personality changes, weakness or paralysis in one part or side of the body, balance problems or dizziness, vision issues, hearing issues, facial numbness or tingling, nausea or vomiting, confusion, and disorientation.

Reasons for brain cancer:

The skull is a hard frame of bone. Brain tumors are dangerous because when they grow, they push on areas of the brain. The hard skull is not able to expand to hold the growing tumor. The prime factor that determines how dangerous a brain tumor is is its location inside the brain. It helps decide whether or not it can be surgically removed, how quickly it grows, and whether it will spread or not. 

The exact causes of brain cancer are still, to a great extent, unknown. Researchers think that brain tumors develop when certain genes on the chromosomes are damaged, but they aren’t sure why this happens. The reasons for brain cancer predicted by the researchers are as follows-

  • Genetic causes: The damaged genes normally control the rate at which the affected cell multiplies and repairs the genes that solve defects of other genes, as well as the genes that should cause the affected cell to self-destruct, if the damage is beyond repair. In some cases, a person may be born with partial defects in these genes.
  • Radiation exposure: People, who, for a long time are being exposed to a strong type of radiation (called ionizing radiation), have an increased chance of brain tumor. Ionizing radiation includes radon, x-rays, gamma rays, rays in CT scans, PET Scans, EEG, ECG and other forms of high-energy radiation. Non-ionizing forms of radiation, such as visible light and the energy from cell phones, are also believed by many to cause cancer in people.
  • Inefficient immune system: Some people who have an inefficient immune system have a high risk of secondary brain tumors. Cancer often develops if the immune system of the body cannot identify and remove abnormal cells. The immune system, in patients with any other type of cancer in the body, may stop proper functioning. Cancer patients on chemotherapy are more vulnerable to secondary brain cancer as chemotherapy results in a deteriorating immune system.
  • Chronic Stress: A link has been found between chronic stress and the occurrence of brain tumor. Chronic stress stimulates the neuroendocrine system and sympathetic nervous system. Stress hormones help in the creation and development of tumors. Chronic stress also affects the immune system of the body.

Ways to prevent brain cancer:

The basic way to control developing brain tumors is by controlling one’s lifestyle. Eating healthy, exercising, avoiding known environmental dangers, and reducing stress are some techniques. Some of the ways that are supposed to reduce the probability of brain cancer are-

  • Anti-cancer diet: Some foods are well-known for their cancer-fighting nutrients. Consuming such a diet is vital in preventing brain tumors. Examples are- beans, berries, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, turmeric, flax seeds, nuts, garlic, citrus fruits, fatty fish, etc.
  • Reduction in radiation exposure: Ionizing radiation is strong enough to cause DNA changes in the body’s cells which lead to tumors and cancers. These radiations may come from mobile phones, and exposure to other electronic devices used for medical treatment for some health issues, although medical science is not sure about it.
  • Frankincense oil: Along with yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises to reduce stress, inhaling frankincense oil can help improve the brain condition. Frankincense has beneficial effects on brain tumor-related swelling, although to some extent only.
  • Ketogenic diet: According to a study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, a modified ketogenic diet which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, is helpful for patients with brain tumors. Oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain associated with brain tumors decrease with the help of this diet. It also stops the supply of nutrients to tumors.

Brain cancer is very uncommon, but a person can have a tumor at any age. Unfortunately, medical science is not yet able to completely prevent brain tumors, but it can reduce the risk of developing one by following certain guidelines, as mentioned above. Every year, World Brain Tumor Day is observed on the 8th of June to acknowledge and spread awareness about the disease. The goal of celebrating this day is – to educate people about the causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment of brain tumors. It’s worth raising public awareness and educating people about brain tumor.

(Disclaimer: This content on brain tumor provides general information only. It is never a substitute for a qualified medical opinion.)

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