Many types of cancer may lead to brain metastases. The cancers having high risk of metastatic brain cancer includes lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer and melanoma. Brain metastases are divided in to various grades on the basis of activity of cells.
Grades Of Brain Metastases
Brain metastases are the tumor which has originated within the other organ and the cancer cells have spread to brain. Generally, the brain metastases occur during the end stage of the primary cancer however in some conditions such as lung cancer, melanoma and renal cancer, the cancer metastasize to rain at an early stage. The stage of brain metastases is determined according to the extent of spread of tumor in different parts of the body other than brain or whether it is single-site or multiple site brain metastases. Very often, stage 4 lung cancer gets metastasized to brain and the prognosis is very poor due to availability of ineffective treatment. Further the prognosis of the disease and the stage is also determined by the functional neurological status of the patient. Following are the various grades of brain tumor:
Grade I. The cells of tumor in this grade are slow growing. The condition can be managed with surgical intervention.
Grade II. The cells of tumor in this grade are also slow growing, but the chances of coming back after treatment are high.
Grade III. The cancer cells in this grade are rapidly dividing and there are no dead cells present. The cancer in grade III requires aggressive treatment. Without aggressive treatment of Grade III, prognosis is poor.
Grade IV. Grade IV is characterized by the presence of highly active dividing cells. Tumor has dead tissues and various blood vessels are formed inside the tumor. The grade IV tumor has the capacity to further spread to other organs.
The young people have more favorable prognosis as compared to older people.
Coping With Brain Metastases
Coping with brain metastases is tough for the patients when they known that the days of survival are limited. The patient has to manage he mental, physical and emotional health as all of the three are significantly affected. The treatment approach is to improve the quality of life of the patient and to increase the life expectancy. Apart from the management by the patient themselves, the complete emotional support should be provided to the patient by relatives and friends. Following are the various coping strategies required for making the life of the patient less worrisome:
Coping With Headache. The cancer spread to the brain from the primary site has active and rapidly dividing cells. The dividing cells causes tumor and is characterized by edema and inflammation in the brain. This leads to moderate to severe headache. The headache can be managed by steroids and other herbal supplements.
Coping With Seizures. Tumor growth interferes in the normal functioning of the brain. This results in the abnormal generation of electrical impulses inside the brain and lead to seizures. The seizures can be managed by anti-epileptic drugs.
Coping With Cognitive Decline. The person with cognitive decline becomes irritated which leads to anxiety, anger and confusion. Further, the patient has poor concentration and memory loss. The patient starts feeling socially isolated. This condition can be effectively managed through medication and counseling.
Coping With Stress. The patient diagnosed with brain metastases is under tremendous stress. The condition can be treated with anti-anxiety or anxiolytic drugs. Counseling should also be provided to the patient to help him leading a quality life.
Rehabilitation. Cognitive rehabilitation should be provided to the patient for managing physical, mental and emotional health. Compensation technique should be provided to the patient to make up the lost ability. Various stress management techniques and exercises should be advised to the patient.
Emotional Support. In this stage of life, the support from the family and the friends are of prime importance. The emotional support helps the patient happier and more stress-free.
Brain tumor is divided into various grades. As the grade increases from grade I to grade IV, the chances of survival reduce, and the treatment becomes difficult. The quality of life gets reduced in high grade brain tumor cases.
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