A brain tumor or intracranial neoplasm occurs when abnormal cells form within the brain. There are two main types of tumors: malignant or cancerous tumors and benign tumors. Cancerous tumors can be divided into primary tumors that start within the brain, and Secondry tumors that have spread from somewhere else, known as brain metastases tumors. All types of brain tumors may produce symptoms that vary depending on the part of the brain involved.
Brain tumors that begin in the brain
Primary brain tumors originate in the brain itself or in tissues close to it, such as in the brain-covering membranes (meninges), cranial nerves, pituitary gland or pineal gland.
Primary brain tumors begin when normal cells acquire errors (mutations) in their DNA. These mutations allow cells to grow and divide at increased rates and to continue living when healthy cells would die. The result is a mass of abnormal cells, which forms a tumor.
Primary brain tumors are much less common than are secondary brain tumors, in which cancer begins elsewhere and spreads to the brain.
Many different types of primary brain tumors exist. Each gets its name from the type of cells involved. Examples include:
- Gliomas. These tumors begin in the brain or spinal cord and include astrocytomas, ependymoma, glioblastomas, oligoastrocytomas, and oligodendrogliomas.
- Meningiomas. A meningioma is a tumor that arises from the membranes that surround your brain and spinal cord (meninges). Most meningiomas are noncancerous.
- Acoustic neuromas (schwannomas). These are benign tumors that develop on the nerves that control balance and hearing leading from your inner ear to your brain.
- Pituitary adenomas. These are mostly benign tumors that develop in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. These tumors can affect the pituitary hormones with effects throughout the body.
- Medulloblastomas. These are the most common cancerous brain tumors in children. A medulloblastoma starts in the lower back part of the brain and tends to spread through the spinal fluid. These tumors are less common in adults, but they do occur.
- PNETs. Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) are rare, cancerous tumors that start in embryonic (fetal) cells in the brain. They can occur anywhere in the brain.
- Germ cell tumors. Germ cell tumors may develop during childhood where the testicles or ovaries will form. But sometimes germ cell tumors move to other parts of the body, such as the brain.
- Craniopharyngiomas. These rare, noncancerous tumors start near the brain’s pituitary gland, which secretes hormones that control many body functions. As the craniopharyngioma slowly grows, it can affect the pituitary gland and other structures near the brain.
Cancer that begins elsewhere and spreads to the brain
Secondary (metastatic) brain tumors are tumors that result from cancer that starts elsewhere in your body and then spreads (metastasizes) to your brain.
Secondary brain tumors most often occur in people who have a history of cancer. But in rare cases, a metastatic brain tumor may be the first sign of cancer that began elsewhere in your body.
Secondary brain tumors are far more common than are primary brain tumors.
Any cancer can spread to the brain, but the most common types include:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
In most people with primary brain tumors, the cause of the tumor is not clear. But doctors have identified some factors that may increase your risk of a brain tumor. Risk factors include:
- Your age. Your risk of a brain tumor increases as you age. Brain tumors are most common in older adults. However, a brain tumor can occur at any age. And certain types of brain tumors occur almost exclusively in children.
- Exposure to radiation. People who have been exposed to a type of radiation called ionizing radiation have an increased risk of brain tumor. Examples of ionizing radiation include radiation therapy used to treat cancer and radiation exposure caused by atomic bombs.
More common forms of radiation, such as electromagnetic fields from power lines and radiofrequency radiation from cellphones and microwave ovens, have not been proved to be linked to brain tumors.
- Family history of brain tumors. A small portion of brain tumors occur in people with a family history of brain tumors or a family history of genetic syndromes that increase the risk of brain tumors.
The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor vary greatly and depend on the brain tumor’s size, location and rate of growth.
General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors may include:
- New onset or change in pattern of headaches
- 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
The scope of homeopathy for cancer management varies depending on the type of cancer, stage of cancer and the general health of the patient. Following are some of the aspects of Cancer management with Homeopathy:
- One of the most distressing complaints associated with some varieties of Cancer is the agonizing pain. Conventional medicines can provide pain relief but only to a certain extent and these medicines are not without any side effects. Moreover there is always a restriction to the dosage that can be safely administered to the patient. The advantage of administering Homeopathic medicines in such cases is that there can be effective pain control without inducing any side effects.
- Homeopathy can help in improving the general well being and vitality of the patient.
- Conventional treatment options for cancer (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc) are associated with distressing side effects and homeopathy can play a definitive role to counter these side effects.
- The diagnosis of cancer often leaves the patient with a sense of depression, anxiety and fear. The treatment may induce additional irritability, impatience and mood fluctuations. Homeopathy can influence the psyche of the patient and help him to deal with these emotions in a better way.
- Homeopathic medicines may also have a role to play in controlling the pace at which the disease increases and spread of the disease to other organs.
Homeopathic medicines can also be administered along with the allopathic medicines.