The brain is arguably the most vital part of our body. Acting as the control centre for the entire body, the brain governs every decision we make. Actions that we choose to do like walking or talking, as well as actions that our body does without even thinking like breathing and blinking or complex decisions that we have to make on a daily basis are all controlled by the brains functionality. This happens through a network of nerves that carry messages back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. Some nerves go directly from the brain to parts of the head like our eyes and ears. Other nerves run through the spinal cord and connect the brain with the other parts of the body.
The brain is a soft, spongy mass of tissue. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die and new cells take their place. However, sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells can form even when the body doesn't need them to, or old and damaged cells don't die when they should. This buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue which is called a tumor. These tumors can be either benign or malignant.
Benign brain tumors do not contain cancer cells and they do not spread to other parts of the body. However, when the benign tumor grows into or presses on a sensitive area of the brain it can cause serious health problems. Unlike benign tumors in most other parts of the body, benign brain tumors can sometimes be life threatening. Malignant brain tumors containing cancer cells, tend to grow rapidly and can spread to the spinal cord and other parts of the brain. The most common malignant brain tumor is glioblastoma. You may remember that fairly recently US Senator John McCain died from glioblastoma about a year after he was diagnosed with brain cancer after a routine check-up without suffering from any obvious symptoms.
Talking about the symptoms of a brain tumor, they depend greatly on tumor size, type, and location. Symptoms may be caused when a tumor presses on a nerve or harms a part of the brain. Also, they may be caused when a tumor blocks the fluid that flows through and around the brain, or when the brain swells because of fluid buildup. The most common symptoms of brain tumors are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with memory
- Changes in speech, vision, or hearing
- Problems balancing or walking
- Muscle jerking or twitching (seizures or convulsions)
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Changes in mood, personality, or ability to concentrate
Many of us have experienced some of these symptoms but not due to a brain tumor. Less severe health related issues like lack of sleep, poor diet, stress and so on can cause these symptoms. Therefore, it is extremely important to have clarity about what is going on inside your head – particularly because many serious cancers and medical conditions have earlier indications in the brain than in other parts of the body.
We want to do our part by sharing information about brain cancer and hopefully engaging into a conversation about the matter with you. What are your thoughts about brain health? If you have any questions about our scans, or you would like to book a Prenuvo scan, please feel free to respond to this email or give us a call on +1-604-227-3000.
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