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What Are the Different Brain Cancer Stages?

Brain cancer at stages one and two can usually be removed by surgeons.
There are several factors, including exposure to radiation, that can increase a person's chances of developing a malignant brain tumor.
Stage one brain cancer cells typically cause very few symptoms.
Article Details
  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are four brain cancer stages, each stage progressing in severity. In stage one, the cancer cells begin to develop, causing few symptoms. In this stage, most cancers are easily treated. During the last brain cancer stages, the tumors become aggressive and in many cases, inoperable. Doctors categorize brain cancer stages as a means of describing how the disease has spread through a patient's body and assessing the severity of the case.

Metastatic brain cancer refers to cases in which cancer cells have spread from the original area where the tumor developed. For example, a patient's brain tumor may have metastasized from lung cancer, and in most cases like this the prognosis will be grim. Carcinoma, commonly referred to as cancer, is a malignant tumor or growth of atypical cells within the body.

Stage one brain cancer typically is slow in development. During this first of the brain cancer stages, the cancer cells remain localized, not having occupied nearby brain tissue. Surgeons typically will operate to eradicate the cancerous cells in these cases. This surgery is successful in the majority of cases if the surgeons can remove the entire cancerous tumor.

Cancer patients typically are treated with radiation therapy. This is given through x-rays and gamma rays that target the cancer site. Radiation therapy may be given in conjunction with chemotherapy after surgery for brain cancer.

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Stage two brain cancer refers to cases in which the mass has grown and subsequently reached nearby brain tissue. In many cases, stage two brain cancer is still operable. If the cancer is limited to a single tumor, surgeons may be able successfully remove it. During stage two, It is crucial for the patient to receive treatment or surgery as soon as possible to halt the growth of tumor.

When brain cancer has advanced to stage three, the tumor has become more destructive. In this aggressive stage, surgery may or may not be possible, depending upon size and location of the tumor. If surgery is not an option, doctors may decide to use chemotherapy. This therapy may reduce the size of the tumor, thus making it possible to remove surgically.

During the final stage of brain cancer, the patient's prognosis will be less hopeful. Stage four brain cancer refers to cases in which the tumor has become most aggressive, making it impossible to remove through surgery. In some cases, however, treatment may be effective through chemotherapy, although recovery may be extensive.

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