Our brain serves a number of essential functions, such as receiving messages via our five sense of hearing, taste, sight, touch, and smell. At birth, our brain weighs approximately one pound. Over the course of our childhoods, it doubles in size. And by the time we’re adults, our brains have become even larger: the average female brain clocks in around 2.7 pounds, while the average male brain is about three pounds. Our brain has several main components, each of which holds a distinct role: the brainstem, cerebellum, cerebrum, hypothalamus, as well as twelve pairs of cranial nerves. Each side is also split up into four distinct lobes: the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes.
At any given moment, about 20% of the blood circulating in our body and 20% of the oxygen found in it are being used by our brain. Nerve cells (aka neurons) are the brain and nervous system’s fundamental units. They absorb sensory input from our surroundings, relay motor directions to our muscles, and transform and broadcast electrical signals within our body. In fact, who we are is actually defined by the interactions among the approximately 100 billion neurons that are floating around our bodies.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the chances of a person developing malignant brain cancer is less than 1 percent. And while brain cancer is rare, its symptoms can often be confused with other, benign conditions.
Some symptoms can worsen over time:
- Blurred vision
- Personality or behavioral changes
- Balance problems
Or they can occur suddenly:
Other symptoms may include speech problems and tingling or numbness in various body parts; these symptoms often depend on the region of the brain where the tumor is developing. The ACS recommends individuals presenting with any of the above symptoms consult a physician as soon as possible–especially if they persist or worsen with time.