Docyard | Understanding brain tumour
Did you know that more than 500 new patients are diagnosed worldwide per day with a brain tumour? It is expected that 80,000-1,50,000 patients are annually detected to be of new cases of brain tumours in India. Proper knowledge and awareness can help fight the disease.
What is a brain tumour?
The brain cells undergo uncontrolled growth (due to various reasons) and form an abnormal mass of tissue. This tissue is called brain tumour. It can also spread from other parts of the body (like lung, breast and kidney) which is known as metastasis.
The most common symptoms are a headache (more serious in the morning); nausea or vomiting; seizures or convulsions (fits/epilepsy); difficulty in thinking, speaking, listening, eating, chewing, swallowing; changes in personality; weakness or paralysis; loss of balance; changes in vision; confusion and disorientation; memory loss and many others. Symptoms vary depending on the tumour location. Although these are common symptoms of a brain tumour, it can indicate other diseases as well; so it is best to consult a doctor.
Children have difficulty in explaining their problems. The common symptoms are excessive crying; vomiting (usually in the morning and without nausea); headaches; unsteadiness; convulsion/fits; double vision or vision problems; lack of coordination; easy fatigue; weakness on one side of the body (paralysis); abnormal increase in the size of the head; irritability; changes in behaviour. The brain tumour is common in children, therefore, it should be a serious concern to the society.
Are brain tumours cancers?
According to the WHO, there are 120-plus different types of brain tumours but not all are cancerous. Benign brain tumors grow slowly and are non-cancer. Malignant (cancerous) brain tumours grow rapidly and destroy normal brain rapidly. Benign tumours, if present in an inaccessible or critical area of the brain; that can be dangerous. In contrast, some malignant tumours can also be successfully treated. Overall, benign tumours have better success rate than malignant tumours.
Virus like Epstein Barr Virus; hormones; pesticides; radiation; electromagnetic waves; abnormality of genes — mutation; certain other unknown factors and familial genetic disorder.
Normally a brain tumour is diagnosed by a neurosurgeon or a neurologist. But the diagnosis can be even made by other doctors like oncologist, physician, surgeon, ENT and eye specialist. CT/MRI are the investigations done to confirm the diagnosis and the pathologist confirms the diagnosis by the tissue exam of the removed brain tumour after surgery.
The neurosurgeon removes the tumour by surgery. The advancement in technology has to lead to a better outcome nowadays. The tumour in the brain is reached by cutting the skin and bone. The malignant tumour needs radiotherapy and chemotherapy after the surgery. Certain medicines may be needed to be taken for few days depending upon the specific need of the patient.
The technological advancement (microscope, navigation system, endoscopes and others) and better drugs with newer diagnostic modalities (functional MRI, tractography and infrared detection) can’t only prolong the survival but can also improve the quality of life. The centres equipped with such facilities play an important role in the proper updated treatment of such a dreaded disease.
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