Specialties

Neurology

Neurology is the specialty responsible for diseases that affect the central nervous system. In oncology, the neurologist acts in cases of tumor or complications related to the side effects of the treatment of other tumors. Know more.
Neurology

Neurology is a medical specialty that studies, diagnoses and treats diseases that compromise the nervous system. It is divided between the central nervous system (CNS), composed of the cerebellum, brainstem, cerebrum and spinal cord; peripheral, that is, nerves that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body, and also the autonomic one, which controls all our functions, such as breathing, digestion and blood circulation.

The most common diseases treated by the professional in this area, the neurologist, are headaches, sleep disorders, strokes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, tumors, meningitis and even attention deficit. This specialist also works together with other areas of medicine in the treatment of some conditions such as depression, anxiety and panic syndrome.

The neurologist is an indispensable professional in the treatment of cancer patients, whether due to the presence of a brain tumor or complications related to the treatment of various types of cancer. Some of these complications can produce neurological symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness. Radiation therapy can sometimes also lead to complications, and it is up to the oncologist to call the specialist to monitor this patient.

According to the José Alencar Gomes da Silva National Cancer Institute (Inca), Central Nervous System (CNS) tumors occur due to the growth of abnormal cells in tissues and represent 1.4% to 1.8% of all tumors. evil in the world. Approximately 90% of CNS tumors occur in the brain.

In Brazil, it is estimated that 11,090 new cases of brain cancer will be diagnosed in 2021, with 5,870 in men and 5,220 in women. These numbers tend to be much higher if benign tumors of the central nervous system, which comprise the brain and spinal cord, are also considered.

The causes of these tumors are not yet fully understood, and may originate from several genetic alterations or acquired throughout life by predisposition or exposure. Some of the known risk factors are exposure to radiation (professionals who handle X-rays, people who undergo radiation therapy or excessive radiation tests) and the existence of an immune system deficiency, whether caused by the HIV virus or by the use of drugs that suppress the immune system.

There are also environmental causes related to the increased risk of these tumors. In addition to radiation, exposure to elements such as arsenic, lead, mercury and chemicals present in pesticides.

As in the case of other types of cancer, overweight is also a risk factor, since some studies point to strong evidence of the relationship between excess body fat and an increased risk for the development of meningioma, a generally benign tumor that appears in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and is more common in women.

Symptoms

The most frequent symptom in patients who develop brain tumors is persistent headache, one that the person has never had and that continues to bother them for a long time. Progressive pain, which increases in intensity and frequency over time, associated with episodes of vomiting, convulsion, visual or motor changes, speech and tingling are alarm signals. Symptoms are directly dependent on the location of the tumor and its size (whether it is causing intracranial hypertension or not).

In minors, these signs should alert parents to seek medical attention soon, as in children aged 5 to 12 years, brain tumors are the most common type of cancer. In the primary health care network, care is provided by a clinician; if the alteration is proven, the patient is referred to a neurological or neurosurgical care and submitted to tomography and magnetic resonance exams.

Prevention

According to Inca, so far there are no defined measures for the specific prevention of CNS tumors, however, the good news is that early detection of cancer is essential to find the tumor at an early stage and allow a greater chance of treatment and cure. . In this sense, the observation of symptoms and the follow-up of the neurologist are of paramount importance. It will indicate the need for investigation through clinical, laboratory or radiological examinations. Image exams with Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with contrast are the main ones in the investigation of these diseases.

References:

Inca https://www.inca.gov.br/

Neuroscience Specialists https://www.neurosurg.org/articles/role-of-a-neuro-oncologist-you-should-know

 

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