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Brain Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis

in NJ, CT, & MD

When tumors form in the brain, the mass of abnormal cells may or may not be cancerous. However, regardless of whether the tumor is cancerous or benign, it often can affect a person’s physical and mental function. Knowing about the symptoms related to brain tumors and brain cancer can promote early detection and treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 25,000 new cases of brain and other nervous system cancers will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022. At Regional Cancer Care Associates’ 25 care centers throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington D.C., area, patients can find  expert care for brain cancer.

Recognize Brain Cancer Symptoms

Patient with headache places hand on headBecause the brain is complex and contains regions that control different physical and cognitive functions, brain cancer symptoms vary from patient to patient. The skull doesn’t allow much room for tumor growth, so as brain tumors become larger, they may press on and interfere with the brain’s control of functions such as balance or speech.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of brain tumors and brain cancer:

  • Headaches, particularly those which are new to the patient or worse in the morning compared to other times of day.
  • Seizures, which are caused by uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain.
  • Weakness and related symptoms, including stiffness, tingling, muscle fatigue, and loss of sensation.
  • Abnormal facial appearance, including weakness or drooping on one side.
  • Balance problems, including dizziness, falling, and trouble walking.
  • Speech difficulties, including slurring, and the inability to think or understand.
  • Vision changes, including partial, double, and blurred vision, or abnormal movements of the eye.
  • Hearing loss, especially sudden onset loss of hearing.
  • Reduced appetite, including unintended weight loss.
  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly when unexplained by other causes.
  • Personality changes, including confusion, tiredness, different behavior, and memory loss.
  • Mood changes, including anxiety and depression.

It is important to note that these symptoms may reflect the presence of many different conditions that range widely in seriousness. For example, reduced appetite may be caused by anything from depression to metabolic disorders. Sudden-onset speech difficulties or drooping on one side of the face may indicate an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke – both of which require immediate medical attention. While most people experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above will not have brain cancer, all of the symptoms should be evaluated by a physician, and those that occur suddenly or that are severe need to be assessed immediately, with patients or others calling 911 for symptoms that may indicate a stroke or other serious or potentially life-threatening condition.

Risk Factors for Developing Brain Cancer

It’s not always possible to know what caused a person’s brain cancer. However, researchers have identified a number of risk factors, including:

  • Age: Brain cancer is more common over age 60.
  • Family history: This is a factor in 5% to 10% of patients with brain tumors.
  • Environmental factors: These can include exposure to large amounts of ionizing radiation.

Options for Brain Cancer Treatments

There are many different types of brain cancer. Physicians categorize brain tumors from Grade I through Grade IV. This helps them determine which treatments will be most effective for a particular patient. There are other factors to consider as well, such as the location of the tumor, the age of the patient, and his or her overall health status. At Regional Cancer Care Associates, our medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and other medical professionals work with surgeons and other clinicians to identify and implement the best treatment plan for each patient.

Brain cancer treatment options can include:

  • Surgery: To remove all or part of the brain tumor.
  • Radiosurgery: In this procedure, radiation is targeted at the brain tumor.
  • Radiation therapy: High-energy radiation X-ray or proton beams are directed at the tumor from either outside the body or, in the case of brachytherapy, from tiny radioactive seeds implanted in or immediately next to the tumor
  • Chemotherapy: Drugs are used to destroy brain tumor cells.
  • Targeted therapy: In this form of treatment, medications kill or prevent the replication of cancer cells by acting on proteins or other molecules on the surface of the cells or inside the cells.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment approach harnesses the body’s own immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells.

Depending on the size, grade, and nature of the brain tumor, one or more of these techniques may be included in the treatment plan. Following treatment, physicians will continue to closely monitor patients to determine whether the brain tumor has come back and if further treatment is needed.

Consult with Brain Cancer Doctors in NJ, CT, & MD

The expert medical oncologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates have extensive experience in treating a wide variety of brain tumors and offer patients comprehensive, cutting-edge and compassionate care at our convenient locations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Regional Cancer Care Associates — Offering advanced cancer care

Doctors at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) are specialists in brain cancer. These experts have proven their leadership as professors, clinicians and researchers and were trained at the world’s most distinguished medical institutions. RCCA offers high-quality, advanced treatment near your home. We work with you and your family to make sure your care is second to none.

You can set up an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you. Or, for more information, call (844) 346-7222.

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