Different kinds of cancer start in different locations of the human body: the brain, the lung, the bowel/intestine, the kidney, the bladder, etc.

The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. The kidneys perform the essential function of removing waste products from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels.That’s what we learn from western medicine.

In TCM, we define the functions of these organs differently: the liver regulates the pathways; the spleen is the source of qi (energy flow) and blood generation; the kidney manages the marrow,the storage of sex liquids (sperms and eggs). The above cancer types relate closely to the functions of liver, spleen and kidney.

We talk about the diagnosis separately.

Brain Cancer

A brain tumor occurs when abnormal cells form within the brain. The main clinical signs are headache, vomiting, problem with vision, difficulty in walking and speaking, mental change, etc.

People aged 20-40 have higher incidence rates of brain tumor. In the US, about 2,000 children and adolescents younger than 20 years of age are diagnosed with malignant brain tumors each year.

In western medicine, the cause of most brain tumors is unknown.

TCM diagnosis of brain cancer is based on the following factors:

  1. A patient has the symptoms of headache, vomiting, problem with vision, etc.
  2. The brain is divided into 4 lobes and each lobe or area has its own function. A tumor in any of these lobes may affect the area’s performance. The location of the tumor is often linked to the symptoms experienced but each person may experience something different.

The following locations are from Wikipedia:

– Frontal lobe: Tumors may contribute to poor reasoning, inappropriate social behavior, personality changes, poor planning, lower inhibition, and decreased production of speech.

– Temporal lobe: Tumors in this lobe may contribute to poor memory, loss of hearing, difficulty in language comprehension.

– Parietal lobe: Tumors here may result in poor interpretation of languages, decreased sense of touch and pain, and poor spatial and visual perception.

– Occipital lobe: Damage to this lobe may result in poor or loss of vision.

– Cerebellum: Tumors in this area may cause poor balance, muscle movement, and posture.

–  Brain stem: Tumors on this can affect blood pressure, swallowing, and heartbeat.

As the brain tumor may cause high blood pressure and paralysis of part of the body, we need to differentiate it with Cerebrovascular disease, a variety of medical conditions that affect the blood vessels of the brain and the cerebral circulation.

Cerebrovascular disease normally occurs in the elderly, with history of hypertension and atherosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries, occurring typically in old age. The patient may have sudden unconsciousness, besides the occurrence of high blood pressure and paralysis.

A patient with brain cancer may have the symptoms of epilepsy or neurological disorders such as headache, vomiting, vision problem and mental disorder, difficulty with movement and sensation. With brain cancer, these symptoms persist. In epilepsy, the symptoms are not apparent after the occurrence.

CT or MRI screening/imaging can help to detect the difference and is currently the main way of diagnosis.

This is about brain cancer. We shall continue with Lung Cancer next time.

Talk to you later.

Isherwood

If you’ve ever felt that having small breasts makes you feel like less of a woman, then read every word of this letter very carefully!    

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