Amid reports that Senator Ted Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor (specifically called "malignant glioma"), here are the answers to some questions you might be asking.
What's malignant glioma?
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Gliomas (primary brain tumors) start in the brain or spinal cord tissue. They can spread within the nervous system but do not spread outside the nervous system. Gliomas can be either benign (slow growing) or malignant (fast growing). Annually, about 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor.
Wikipedia says symptoms of a malignant glioma are headaches, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and cranial nerve disorders as a result of increased intracranial pressure.
What's the difference between malignant and benign again?
Malignant is cancerous while benign in non-cancerous.
How common are brain tumors?
According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be an estimated 21,810 new cases and deaths from brain and other nervous system tumors and 13,070 deaths in the United States in 2008.
Who has had a brain tumor?
Those who have died from complications with their brain tumors include Bob Marley, Gene Siskel, George Harrison, Francois Truffaut, Robert Moog, Lee Atwater, Ethel Merman, George Gershwin, Bobby Van, Johnnie Cochran and Raymond Carver.
What does a brain tumor look like?
What does it feel like to have a brain tumor?
What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include:
The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor vary greatly and depend on the brain tumor's size, location and rate of growth.
General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors may include:
* New onset or change in pattern of headaches
* Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe
* Unexplained nausea or vomiting
* Vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
* Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg
* Difficulty with balance
* Speech difficulties
* Confusion in everyday matters
* Personality or behavior changes
* Seizures, especially in someone who doesn't have a history of seizures
* Hearing problems
* Hormonal (endocrine) disorders
Who's at risk of developing a brain tumor?
*Being male--In general, brain tumors are more common in males than females. However, meningiomas are more common in females.
*Race--Brain tumors occur more often among white people than among people of other races.
*Age--Most brain tumors are detected in people who are 70 years old or older. However, brain tumors are the second most common cancer in children. (Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer.) Brain tumors are more common in children younger than 8 years old than in older children.
*Family history--People with family members who have gliomas may be more likely to develop this disease.
*Being exposed to radiation or certain chemicals at work:
Radiation--Workers in the nuclear industry have an increased risk of developing a brain tumor.
Formaldehyde--Pathologists and embalmers who work with formaldehyde have an increased risk of developing brain cancer. Scientists have not found an increased risk of brain cancer among other types of workers exposed to formaldehyde.
Vinyl chloride--Workers who make plastics may be exposed to vinyl chloride. This chemical may increase the risk of brain tumors.
Acrylonitrile--People who make textiles and plastics may be exposed to acrylonitrile. This exposure may increase the risk of brain cancer.
Lastly, is it true that cell phones give you brain cancer?
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that people who used cellular phones did not have an increased risk of brain tumors compared to non-users.