Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Patients With Metastatic Cancer and High-grade Gliomas of the Central Nervous System

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Cancer is the hyperactive state of cell growth in which the multiplication and division of cells occur abnormally.Malignant cancer to the brain frequently begins and ends with the loss of self or quality of life. Cancer of the central nervous system can be in the form of a primary or secondary brain tumor commonly known as metastatic cancer. Primary brain tumors can be benign or malignant on the basis of the cell type or location within the brain. Metastatic cancer has a primary source of origin, from which it has traveled to the brain by direct extension (tumors arising from the skull or vertebral column), or most commonly by hematogenous spread (through the blood supply, lymphatic system, or cerebral spinal fluid). As the cancer grows, the individual can experience headache, seizures, or focal neurologic deficits, all impinging on quality of life. Thisarticle addresses malignant central nervous system cancer including metastatic cancer and malignant gliomas (anaplastic astrocytoma, grade III, and glioblastoma multiforme, grade IV). Epidemiology, diagnostic workup, treatment, and outcome also are reviewed.

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