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Brain cancer

Brain cancer

Definition of Brain Cancer

The brain is a very important and complex organ. This organ functions to control all body functions, from movement functions, metabolic functions, to thoughts and feelings. If abnormal cells grow in the brain, body functions can be disrupted.

Based on its origin, brain cancer can be divided into two, namely primary and secondary brain cancer. Primary brain cancer originates from the brain cells themselves, while secondary (metastatic) brain cancer originates from cancer cells that spread from other organs of the body.

According to WHO data in 2020, new cases of brain cancer in Indonesia have reached 1.5% of all existing cancer cases. Meanwhile, the death rate for brain cancer is 2.3% of all sufferers.

Types of Brain Cancer

The growth of abnormal cells or tumors in the brain can be benign or even malignant. Brain cancer is classified as abnormal cells that grow malignant so they can grow and spread quickly.

Based on its origin, brain cancer can be divided into two, namely:

Primary brain cancer

Primary brain cancer is brain cancer that originates from cells in the brain tissue itself. Some types of primary brain cancer include:

  • Astrocytoma
    Astrocytoma is a type of brain cancer that grows and develops in glial cells, which are cells that support the nervous system. Astrocytoma is the most common type of primary brain cancer and can be experienced by children or the elderly.
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
    Glioblastoma is the most malignant type of brain cancer in glial cells. GBM can grow and spread very quickly. This type of brain cancer most often affects the age group of 50–70 years and is more common in men than women.
  • Medulloblastomas
    Medulloblastomas is a type of glial cell brain cancer that grows and develops in the cerebellum , which is an organ that functions to control movement. This type generally occurs in children and adolescents.

Secondary brain cancer

Unlike primary brain cancer, secondary brain cancer originates from cancer cells that spread (metastasize) from other organs of the body. The types of cancer that most often spread to the brain are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • thyroid cancer d

Causes and Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer occurs when cells in the brain grow abnormally. The cause is not known with certainty, but there are a number of factors that can increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer, such as radiation exposure to the head, family history of brain cancer, and genetic disorders.

Brain cancer symptoms may develop gradually and get worse over time. The symptoms experienced also vary widely, ranging from headaches to hallucinations and personality changes.

The above symptoms can appear due to increased pressure inside the head or damage to the part of the brain where the cancer grows.

How to Treat and Prevent Brain Cancer

Brain cancer can be treated with several methods, the types of which are adjusted to the patient's health condition, as well as the location, size, and type of tumor. Treatment methods that can be done include:

  • Operations, such as craniotomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Target therapy

Although it cannot be prevented, the risk of brain cancer can be reduced by doing several things, such as avoiding excessive radiation exposure, not smoking, and avoiding chemicals that can cause cancer cell growth.

Causes of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer occurs when cells in the brain undergo mutations (changes) and grow out of control. These abnormal cells grow quickly and form a mass (tumor). Brain cancer is malignant, so it can spread to healthy cells and surrounding tissue, even to locations far from the brain.

It is not known exactly why these cells turn into cancer cells. However, there are several risk factors that are thought to increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer.

Brain Cancer Risk Factors

The following are some factors that can increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer:

  • Exposure to radiation to the head, for example due to radiotherapy
  • Old age (elderly)
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a genetic disease, such as Gorlin syndrome, Turner syndrome, Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Li-Fraumani syndrome, tuberous sclerosis , or neurofibromatosis types 1 and type 2
  • Have a family history of cancer
  • Suffering from a disease that can lower the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS
  • Smoking
  • Living or working in areas with high levels of pollution and environmental pollution

Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Symptoms of brain cancer depend on the size, location, and level of development of the tumor. The symptoms of this disease can also go unnoticed at first, because they often appear gradually. These symptoms can occur as a result of increased intracranial pressure (pressure inside the head) or tissue damage at the location of the cancer.

Common symptoms that can arise as a result of increased intracranial pressure in brain cancer patients are:

  • Recurring headaches that are more frequent or severe, and usually worse in the middle of the night or in the morning
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Prolonged drowsiness
  • Visual impairment, such as blurred or partially lost vision, that does not improve with glasses
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Convulsions

Meanwhile, based on the location of tumor growth, the symptoms that arise due to brain cancer can also vary, depending on the function of the part of the brain that is disturbed. Here is the explanation:

  • Tumors in the frontal lobe
    The frontal lobe plays a role in the ability to speak, plan, solve problems, make some movements, process sensations, and shape personality and character.
    Symptoms that appear include weakness on one side of the body, difficulty walking, speech disorders, personality changes, apathy , difficulty making plans, restlessness, and being aggressive.
  • Tumor in the temporal lobe
    The temporal lobe plays a role in processing sound and storing memory. Symptoms that appear include difficulty speaking and hearing, loss of memory of recent events, or hallucinations due to hearing voices that are not actually there.
  • Tumor in the parietal lobe The parietal
    lobe processes touch, pressure, pain, and recognizes things and then stores them as memories. The symptoms include difficulty speaking or understanding other people's words, difficulty reading or writing, and loss of the sense of taste in some parts of the body.
  • Tumors in the occipital lobe The occipital
    lobe functions to process vision. Symptoms include loss of vision in one eye and difficulty identifying the color and size of an object.
  • Tumors on the brain stem The brain
    stem is the control center for body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and the ability to swallow. Symptoms that can appear include balance disorders, difficulty swallowing and speaking, as well as double vision.
  • Tumors in the cerebellum
    The cerebellum plays a role in controlling balance and body posture. The symptoms include impaired coordination and body balance, uncontrolled eye movements, stiff neck, nausea, and spinning.
  • Tumors of the pituitary or pituitary
    gland The pituitary gland produces hormones for growth, metabolism, and reproduction. Symptoms include irregular periods, infertility or sterility, weight gain, mood swings, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

When should you go to the doctor?

Check with your doctor if you experience the symptoms mentioned above, especially if you have a high risk of brain cancer.

Symptoms of brain cancer are sometimes not noticed, because they happen gradually. Therefore, see a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms that persist and worsen over time.

Immediately go to the hospital IGD if you have ever suffered from a brain tumor and experience new symptoms, such as:

  • Convulsions
  • Personality changes
  • Sensory disturbances, such as visual disturbances, numbness, or smell disturbances
  • Continuous nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Fever, especially after undergoing chemotherapy

Brain Cancer Prevention


  • Avoiding exposure to chemicals that contain carcinogenic substances (substances that cause cancer cell growth)
  • Avoid excessive radiation exposure
  • Do not smoke
  • Avoid exposure to pesticides or insecticides
  • Maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet
  • Maintain an ideal weight
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