About brain cancer

Brain cancer is a disease of the brain cancer cells (malignant) appear in brain tissue. Cancer cells grow to form a mass of cancerous tissue (tumor) that interferes with brain functions such as muscle control, sensation, memory, and other normal body functions. Tumors composed of cancer cells are called malignant tumors, and those composed of non-cancerous cells are called benign tumors. Cancer cells that develop in brain tissue are called primary brain tumors while the tumor that spread from other organs and affects the brain are called metastases brain tumors.

The statistics suggest that this type of cancer occurs rarely and is likely to grow to approximately 22,000 people in 2009, with about 13,000 deaths – it is estimated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Not all brain tumors are the same, even if they come from the same type of brain tissue. Tumors can be distinguished in degree depending on how the tumor cells appear under a microscope. There is a class division, depending on cancer cell growth rate. NCI lists the following classes of tumors:

-Grade I: the tissue is benign. Cells look almost like normal cells, and growth is slow.
-Grade II: the tissue is malignant. Cells look less like normal cells than tumor cells in a Grade I.
-Grade-III malignant tissue has cells that look very different from normal cells. Abnormal cells are growing actively (anaplastic).
-Grade-IV malignant tissue has cells that look abnormal and most tend to grow rapidly.
The most common primary brain tumors are usually named after the type of tissue in the brain have developed. They are gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, and neuroectodermal tumors (medulloblastomas). Gliomas have more subtypes that include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas, and choroid papillomas. If the tumor classes are coupled with tumor name, the name will give physicians a better understanding of the severity of brain cancer. For example, a grade III (anaplastic) glioma is an aggressive tumor, while an acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor grade I. However, even benign tumors can cause serious problems if the increase
large enough to cause increased intracranial pressure or vascular structures or obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow.

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