announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Stage 4 Brain Cancer

Stage 4 Brain Cancer

Brain cancer, also called brain tumor, is the abnormal growth of cells in the brain and some parts of the spinal column. It has several stages of development. Here we shall learn about stage 4, the most dangerous stage.
Aarti R
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Cancer refers to the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of damaged cells in the human body. These abnormally grown damaged cells are lumped together to form tumors in the human body. In cancer, these malignant tumors interfere in the normal working of the nervous, digestive and circulatory system of the human body. Additionally, these tumors release unwanted hormones that alter the proper functioning of the body. There are a total of five stages of cancer that are classified according to the cell growth inside the human body. Each stage of brain cancer exhibits different symptoms. The stage 4 brain cancer is the most dangerous and deadly.
Types of Brain Cancer
The types of brain cancer depend on the type of cell in which the tumor originates. There are nine types of primary tumors, as specified by World Health Organization (WHO). They are as follows:
Type of Tumor Cell Origin and Functions of Cells
Infiltrative Astrocytoma Astrocytes are the star-shaped cells in the brain and the spinal cord. They are the glial cells that are non-neuronal cells and that maintain the nutrition and carry signals within the nervous system.
Pilocytic Astrocytoma Astrocytes
Oligodendroglioma Oligodendrocytes provide insulation of nerve fiber in the central nervous system.
Mixed Oligoastrocytoma Both the oligodendrocytes and astrocytes cells are affected.
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Astrocytes and other brain cell types (astroblasts and spongioblast).
Ependymoma Ependymocytes are the cells that form a membrane, which lines the ventricles of brain and the central canal of spinal cord.
Medulloblastoma Primitive neural cells.
Meningioma Meninges is a membrane that prevents the brain from pressing against the skull.
Other Other cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Stages of Brain Cancer
Brain cancer staging determines the extent to which the cancer has spread. The stages give the doctor an idea about the appropriate treatment that must be given to the cancer patient. The stages are helpful for doctors in assessing an appropriate prognosis. In stage 4 brain cancer, cancer cells multiply rapidly and can affect the other nearby organs. Also, the cancer cells can divide and can move to other parts of the human body through the lymphatic system and the bloodstream. Cancer advancement from brain to other parts of the body is called metastasis. The staging in the brain cancer has five stages as stated below:
Stage 0: This stage is called carcinoma in situ (CIS), which means that the cancer is developed only in the layers of the particular cell that is affected.
Stage I: The stage I cancer cannot be seen through the microscope and the cell growth looks like normal cells. This is an early stage of cancer, which can be cured successfully. Cancer in stage I can be cured by surgery.
Stage II: The damaged cells start growing at a significant rate. At this stage, the cancer can be treated and cured. However, at this stage the possibility of re-occurrence of cancer, even after it has been treated, is very high.
Stage III: At this stage of the brain cancer, the cells grow at a very high rate. The brain cancer at this stage can also spread to tissues other than brain in the body.
Stage IV: The brain cancer stage 4 is the most dreadful of all the stages. At this stage, the cancer is spread to other parts of the body and this stage is called metastasis. The possibility of curing the cancer at this stage is very low.
Symptoms of Stage 4
The symptoms of brain cancer or stage 4 brain tumor depend on the location of the brain tumor. Some of the symptoms are as follows:
  • Seizures
  • Unusual or frequent headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Weight changes
  • Changes in behavior
  • Memory loss
  • Hearing problems
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness and numbness in arms and legs
  • Hallucinations
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
Tests and Examinations
The tests and examinations that are conducted by the doctor to determine whether the cancer is in stage 4 are as follows:
Physical Investigations: The doctor tests the patient by feeling and gathering other information of the symptoms the patient is suffering from. Usually, if a harmful tumor is already developed in the brain, it is more likely that the patient is having stage 4 brain cancer.
Tests and Examinations: The tests that are conducted to determine the stage of brain cancer are CT (computed tomography) scan, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans. Biopsy is a test that involves removing the brain tissue and observing it under a microscope.
Surgical Examination: Many times, surgical tests are performed that determine the stage of cancer and the effect of cancer on the lymph nodes.
Treatment
The stage 4 brain cancer is treated with one or a combination of the following:
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Biological Therapy
  • Surgery
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Cryosurgery
Sometimes, the treatment may have some side-effects on the human body. The stage IV brain cancer cannot be cured in most of the cases and most of the time, is fatal. The only known way of extending the life is by keeping a positive attitude towards life and a strong will to survive. It is a pity that medical science is yet to reach that stage where cancer is counted among the completely curable diseases. However, till then, we must not give up on the best thing we have, faith.