How Does Brain Cancer Start?
Brain cancer is denoted by a growth, or tumor, which is a mass of cells that reproduce out of control. This abnormal division of cells is defined as either benign or malignant in nature, with malignant being the most devastating to brain tissue.
Unlike benign or non-cancerous tumors, malignant tumors have no boundaries. Malignant brain tumors often penetrate surrounding tissue at a rapid pace, invading in such a way that surgical removal is often difficult.
The brain is made up of billions of cells, and brain cancer is tagged according to the types of cells in which it originates. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (seattlecca.org) reports that approximately half of the primary cancers that are diagnosed are gliomas, which means that they begin in the glial cells of the brain.
The three main types of glial cells are oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells and astrocytes. Astrocytomas are the most commonly diagnosed gliomas. Other brain cells that are often invaded are the meningioma cells, schwannoma cells and the lymphocytes.
Although scientists are not certain how brain cancer starts, they do feel that genetics may play a role. Genetic mutations, or genes that are not duplicated exactly the same as the parental genes, may hold the key to what triggers abnormal cell reproduction.
These genes that are now thought to be “inherited” can actually be ticking time bombs. Researchers may have discovered the gene that is responsible for setting the wheels in motion when it comes to the abnormal reproduction of brain cancer cells. The olig2 regulatory protein is the suspected culprit in the brain cancer nightmare.