Brain cancer and brain tumors
Brain cancer is one of the trickiest types of cancer. The problem is that the debris from dead cancer cells can be very difficult to safely remove from the brain.
Other problems are inflammation and swelling. Before a cancer cell dies, it gets sick. The problem is that once the cancer cell gets sick, the immune system recognizes the cell as being sick and attacks it. This causes inflammation and swelling.
Both benign and malignant tumors cause signs and symptoms and need treatment. Benign tumors grow and press on nearby areas of the brain but rarely spread. Malignant tumors are likely to grow quickly and spread.
When cancer develops elsewhere in the body and spreads (metastasizes) to the brain, it’s called a secondary brain tumor, or metastatic brain cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors. Some cancers that commonly spread to the brain include lung, colon, kidney, and breast cancers.
Causes & Symptoms of Brain Cancer
Seizures, sleepiness, confusion, and behavioral changes are among the symptoms of brain cancer. Benign brain cancer tumors also may have similar symptoms.
The location, size of the tumor, and rate of growth may vary and will affect the signs and symptoms of brain cancer. Generally speaking, these may include:
• Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe
• Unexplained nausea or vomiting
• Vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
• Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg
• Difficulty with balance
• Speech difficulties
• Confusion in everyday matters
• Personality or behavior changes
• Seizures, especially in someone who doesn't have a history of seizures
• Hearing problems
Who Gets Brain Cancer
Brain tumors are the most common cancer among those age 0-19 (leukemia is the second) and are the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).
Malignant brain tumors are the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 and the most common cancer occurring among 15-19-year-olds.
The median age at diagnosis for all primary brain tumors is 59 years.
Approximately 0.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with brain and other nervous system cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.
According to the SEER Stat Fact Sheets, in 2013, there were an estimated 152,751 people living with brain and other nervous system cancer in the United States.
Prognosis if You Have Brain Cancer
Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as Stage I). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant.
The earlier brain and other nervous system cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For brain and other nervous system cancer, 76.9 percent are diagnosed at the local stage.
The 5-year relative survival rate for brain cancer:
• Stage I – 36.7 percent
• Stage II – 22.1 percent
• Stage III – 36.3 percent
• Stage IV – 24.6 percent
Alternative and Conventional Brain Cancer Treatments
Dietary plans, liver flushes and coffee enemas, electromedicine, immune support as well as supplements are recommended for brain cancer treatment.
Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for brain cancer include:
• Radiation therapy
Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Brain Tumor Association, American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK
Issues with brain cancer and orthodox cancer treatments
While surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation may be necessary in cases of dangerous swelling and inflammation, there is the potential for serious side effects, including permanent brain damage.
- “As a rough estimate, neurosurgeons do well to cure one in every 1,000-brain cancer patients they operate on. Radiation therapy slows the growth of adult tumors, gaining perhaps one month of life, and may result in a cure of only one in 500-1,000 patients. Similarly, chemotherapy, despite 30 years of clinical trials, has not resulted in the development of a single drug or drug combination that elicits more than an occasional transient response in primary brain tumors.”Dr. Robert Burdick, oncologist, and professor at the University of Washington Medical School
Brain cancer and brain tumors are somewhat unique because of the “blood-brain barrier,” which severely restricts the types of substances in the bloodstream that are allowed by the body into the brain. While the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is great for protecting the brain from danger, when the brain has cancer cells, the BBB can be a problem.
How to Prevent Brain Cancer
Other than radiation exposure, there are no known lifestyle-related or environmental causes of brain tumors. At this time, there is no known way to protect against most of these tumors.
However, there are factors may put you at increased risk, including:
• Radiation exposure
• Family history of certain conditions including Neurofibromatosis type 1 and type 2, tuberous sclerosis, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome
• Immune system disorders, including AIDS and lymphoma
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans may help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There are many studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasisThe spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body. The new, metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are breast cancer cells, not lung cancer cells. (or the spreading of your cancer).
Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fatA type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease..
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's overactive responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body