Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brain Cancer Awareness Month-May

The diagnosis of a brain tumor is the start of a journey that nobody expects to take. Understanding what is happening and the medical terms that doctors are using can be overwhelming and confusing.

The brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is the core of our existence. It controls our personality, thoughts, memory, intelligence, speech and understanding, emotions, senses, and basic body functions, as well as how we function in our environment.

Brain Tumors do not discriminate. Primary brain tumors - those that begin in the brain and tend to stay in the brain - occur in people of all ages, but they are statistically more frequent in children and older adults. Metastatic brain tumors - those that begin as a cancer elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain - are more common in adults than children.

Brain tumors are the:
  • second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).
  • second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males ages 20-39 (leukemia is the first).
  • fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20-39.

 Risk factors can be environmental, such as being exposed to certain chemicals at home or work, eating or not eating certain foods, physical activity level, and/or other lifestyle choices such as tobacco and/or alcohol use. They can also be genetic, or based on the characteristics we inherit from our parents.

 Learning about the various parts of the brain and spine, as well as how they work, will help you understand the symptoms of brain tumors, how they are diagnosed, and how they are treated.


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