Neurological cancer is the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells in the brain or spine. Sometimes, it develops in both areas of the body at the same time. Brain cancer appears when the cells inside the brain reproduce uncontrollably, forming a mass. This mass is also known as a tumor. It is categorized into three types-
• Noncancerous (low grade, benign)- Benign tumors are limited to the affected area, but they can still cause neurological cancer symptoms, especially if they grow to be quite large.
• Cancerous (high grade, malignant) -Malignant neurological tumors can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of your brain.
• Metastatic cancers- this cancer has developed in some other part of the body and has invaded the brain or spine to form tumors.
In children, brain and spine cancer appear before the age of 10 years. In adults, it usually occurs in the ages between 30 and 50 years. Symptoms
The Symptoms of Neurological cancer vary from person to person. Brain Cancer represents the following common symptoms:
• Seizures or convulsions
• Problems related to speech or vision
• Nausea and vomiting
• Difficulty in walking
• Alterations in one’s alertness, memory or concentration
• Changes in personality
Spinal Cord Tumors are represented by symptoms such as-
1. Pain in the back
2. Pain that extends from the back to the arms or legs
3. Weakness felt in the legs
4. Trouble in walking
5. Bowel or urinary incontinence Diagnosis
The tests that can help to diagnose the neuro cancer are-
1. Neuropsychological exam: neurological evaluations help to assess memory, learning, concentration, attention, verbal comprehension, visual perception, processing speed, basic motor, and sensory functions, reasoning, etc.
2. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): MRI scan utilizes a strong magnetic field and radio waves to develop a clear image of soft tissues in the brain and spine.
3. 3T MRI: This high-tech MRI scanner gives detailed scans of the brain and spine with accuracy.
4. Open MRI: in this test, the neurologist treats the tumors during the scan, like performing a real-time neurological tumor biopsy during the MRI.
5. Functional MRI: A functional MRI (fMRI) is the diagnostic test that accurately maps the brain. Accurate mapping is necessary to plan surgery, radiation therapy, and other interventional treatments as brain tumors may shift the locations of the centers responsible for memory, speech, sensation, and other functions.
6. 16-slice CT (computed tomography): A 16-slice CT shows precise cross-sectional images of the brain than a conventional CT.
7. PET/CT: These scans give anatomical data by a CT scan along with the metabolic information from a PET scan that tracks smaller tumors and the extent of brain cancer. Treatment
One or more of the following procedures are advised for neuro cancer:
1. Surgery: In some cases, Neuro tumors can be removed surgically. However, surgery is many times are performed in combination with chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy.
2. Radiation therapy: it is used to destroy cancer cells or cease them from growing.
3. Chemotherapy: These medicines are used to fight cancer, usually in combination with other therapies, such as radiation therapy and surgery.
4. Autologous stem cell treatment (ASCT): Autologous stem cell treatment (ASCT): The word “Autologous” means that the stem cells are derived from the patient before performing chemo/radiation therapy. This procedure is used to rebuild the bone marrow after an extremely high dose of chemo, as it might have destroyed healthy stem cells (immature blood cells) along with brain cancer cells.
5. Cancer immunotherapy: The immune system of the body can be used to treat cancer without damage to healthy tissue. Cellular cancer vaccines, prepared from the patient's healthy cells, help to trigger his immune system to fight cancer and prohibit it from spreading, that eventually prevent returning of the tumor.
6. Rehabilitation therapy: It includes
• Physical therapy to help the patient restart walking, maintain balance and rebuild strength
• Occupational therapy to perform life skills, such as dressing, drinking, eating and going to the bathroom
• Speech therapy to deal with difficulties related to talking and swallowing.