Right now, more than 120 forms of brain cancer have been identified. It’s incredibly important that brain cancer is researched, so that diagnoses may be made earlier and treatments can become more effective. Each development made can help tens of thousands of individuals.
“This year, an estimated 78,000 people will be diagnosed with primary tumors of the brain and central nervous system. This number includes 23,770 adults (13,350 men and 10,420 women) in the United States who will be diagnosed with primary cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord this year.” – Cancer.net
Today, we review what brain cancer is and the research being done to lessen its impact on individuals in New York, throughout the United States and throughout the world.
Brain cancer is cancer that develops within the cells of the brain. The brain, part of a human’s central nervous system, is the source of vital functions such as sight, speech, hearing, memory and more, and thus brain cancer, or malignant tumors found in the brain, can be a devastating diagnosis.
There are many types of brain cancer, named most often based on the location the cancer is found in the brain, or based on what type of cell within the brain is initially affected.
Primary brain cancers originate within the brain itself. Cancer that has originated elsewhere in the body, such as the colon, pancreas or breasts, and spread to the brain is called metastatic cancer. Metastatic tumors are the tumors that most commonly affect the brain.
Research has not been able to confirm what causes brain tumors yet, though a few risk factors have been established and studied. These risk factors include:
Unfortunately, youth appear to be disproportionately affected by brain cancer, as it is a leading cause of death for young people.
“A new report published in the journal Neuro-Oncology and funded by the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) finds that 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.” – American Brain Tumor Association
It’s critically important to the live of thousands – and the lives of their loved ones – that brain cancer treatments be developed.
Progress has been made in treating brain cancer, slowly but surely. Common treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Additional drugs, such as steroids and antiseizure medications, can treat symptoms caused by brain tumors. In many cases, surgery is required to remove tumors or lessen their impacts on the brain.
Treatments depend on the stage of the cancer, as well as its location in the brain. Treatments may also depend on what symptoms the cancer is currently causing, as well as the prognosis for the months ahead. More than one treatment may be required.
Every day, more research is being done to understand the causes of brain cancer. This research will help to prevent more diagnoses, while also creating more effective treatment options to reverse the progress of the disease and halt its damaging effects.
According to the PhRMA Innovation Hub, three new drugs were approved for treating brain cancer between 1998 and 2014. 75 other drugs were tested during that time, and though their trials were unsuccessful, the research to study them taught their developers more about how the brain works, how tumors grow and what treatments may be successful in the future.
This persistence is vital to the development of new treatments and preventative measures. Only with constant pharmaceutical research and development can the health care solutions we need to save lives be provided.