The nervous system is a very complex network of cells and nerves that carry messages to different parts of the body right from the brain and spinal cord. Together the nervous system allows our brain to control what is going on and helps different parts of our body to communicate. 

There are two main sections of the Nervous system: 

1. Central nervous system (CNS)

2. Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS). Network of nerves make up the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The nerve network connects the rest of the body to the Central nervous system (CNS). It comprises of nerve fibers that carry information between the CNS and other parts of the body. 

The tumor forms in one or more parts of the nervous system resulting in Nervous system cancer. The body can be affected in numerous ways due to the tumor, because the nervous system allows the body to process sensory information through chemical signaling, process thought and reasoning, move muscles through electrical signaling provide speech and perform many other bodily functions. After leukemia, cancer of Nervous system is the 2nd leading type of cancer in children.

Types of Brain Cancers:

A mass of cells in your brain is known as brain tumor and that isn’t considered normal. Brain tumors are bifurcated into two general groups:

Primary Brain Tumors 

Primary brain tumors develop in the brain and inclined to stay there.

Below are some of the Primary brain tumors:

  • Gliomas - This tumor develop in the brain or spinal cord and consist of glioblastomas, astrocytomas, oligoastrocytomas ependymomas, and oligodendrogliomas.
  • Meningiomas - The membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord are the organs where this tumor arises. Meningiomas tumors are mostly noncancerous.
  • Acoustic Neuromas (Schwannomas) - These are the benign tumor that develops on the nerves that control the balance and hearing which leads to the brain.
  • Pituitary adenomas - These tumors are developed in the pituitary gland which is at the base of the brain and are mostly benign tumors. Pituitary hormones are affected due to these tumors which in turn affects the body.
  •  Glioblastoma – It can occur in the brain or spinal cord and is one of the most aggressive cancers. Glioblastoma develops from astrocytes cells that help nerve cells. Glioblastoma generally can occur in any age but more often in older people. The signs observed are headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures.
  • Medulloblastomas - These are the very common cancerous brain tumors which are more likely found in Children. They are less common. Medulloblastoma starts in the brain’s lower back part and incline to spread through the spinal fluid. 
  • Germ cell tumors – These tumors may start during childhood where the ovaries or testicles will form. But at times, brain gets affected due to these germ cell tumors. 
  • Craniopharyngiomas – Pituitary gland secrete hormones that control many body functions. Craniopharyngiomas are the noncancerous and rare tumors that begin near the brain’s pituitary gland. 

Secondary Brain Tumors 

Compared to primary tumors, the secondary brain tumors are more common. These cancers develop in some other organs of the body and then travel to the brain.  Some of the most common cancers that spread to the brain include 

  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Kidney
  • Colon
  • Skin cancers
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Frequently asked questions about Nervous System

What are the functions of nervous system?

The role of the nervous system is to receive information and allow the body to respond quickly to various stimuli. The four important functions of the Nervous System are the sensory, integrative, communicative and motor functions. 

Which are the tumors that affect the nervous system?

The tumors that affect the Nervous System are Astrocytomas, Glioblastomas, Oligodendroglial tumors, Ependymal, Medulloblastomas, Pineal, Meningeal and Germ Cell tumors.

What are the symptoms of nerve cancer?
  • Swelling or a lump under your skin
  • Pain
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Weakness or loss of function in the affected area
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
What are the common nervous system disorders?

Parkinson's disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Peripheral neuropathies are some of the common disorders of the nervous system.

How do you know if you have a brain tumor?

The signs of a brain tumor depend on the brain tumor's size, location and rate of growth. Common signs and symptoms may include: change in pattern of headaches. Headaches that gradually becomes more frequent and more severe nausea or vomiting.

What can cause damage to the nervous system?
  • Injuries caused to the head and spinal cord
  • Problems those are present at birth (congenital) 
  • Mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, or psychosis
  • Exposure to toxins, such as carbon monoxide, arsenic, or lead
What kind of cancer can cause neuropathy?

Some types of cancers that affect the nervous system can cause neuropathy. Tumors that grow in or near the brain or spine, especially, can lead to nerve damage. However, any cancer that causes the growth of tumors can lead to neuropathy.

What are the treatments for Nervous system cancer?
  • Proton therapy
  • Standard X-ray radiation
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy

Recent Articles

Primary brain cancers have below symptoms 

  • Headache
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness
  • Clumsiness
  • Seizures

Below are some less specific symptoms:

  • Concentration, memory, attention, or alertness changes
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble with speech
  • Gradual changes in emotional response or intellectual capacity

Risks Factors for Brain Cancer:

Family history: Those are at risks who have a family history of brain tumors 

Age: Brain tumors risks increases with age.

Chemical exposure: Being constantly exposed to certain chemicals can increase risk for brain cancer. 

Exposure to radiation: Those who have been exposed to ionizing radiation are also at risk.

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