Our body is an intricate supercomputer, designed exquisitely by Almighty-The master craftsman. And our brain is considered to be its most sensitive organ, rightly placed on top of the rest of the body. When something as sinister as a tumour affects the brain, it can negatively impact its function and our health. It becomes imperative that we drift away from myths and spread awareness about brain tumours. Widespread awareness, early detection, timely management and appropriate follow-up treatment course is the key for survival with brain tumours.
What is brain tumor?
A brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Brain tumours can be cancerous(malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Whether benign or malignant, if these tumours enlarge in size, they can cause pressure inside the skull to increase. This can cause brain damage and it can even be fatal.
Types of brain tumors?
Brain tumours are sometimes classified as primary or secondary too.
- A primary brain tumour originates in the brain. Many primary brain tumours are benign.
- A secondary brain tumour (also known as metastatic brain tumour) occurs when cancer cells spread to brain from another organ, e.g, lung or breast.
Signs & Symptoms of brain tumors?
The signs & symptoms of a brain tumour encompass a wide spectrum and depend upon its size, location and rate of growth. They may include
- Headaches, that become more frequent or more severe
- Unexplained nausea or vomiting (which sometimes relieves the headache)
- Visual problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
- Gradual loss of sensation/movement in an arm/leg
- Difficulty in speaking or understanding
- Difficulty in hearing
- Difficulty in balancing
- Personality or behavioural changes
- Confusion/difficulty making decisions
It’s not necessary that you have a brain tumour if you notice any of the symptoms listed above. A variety of other conditions might cause the symptoms, so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis. And that’s why a visit to the Neurosurgeon‘s clinic becomes imperative. After a brief review of the patient’s medical history and physical examination, the doctor might recommend tests like the CT scan, MRI or EEG.
But fret not, even if you are diagnosed with a brain tumour, it’s not the end of the road. Equipped with latest gadgetry and tools, the neurosurgeons armamentarium is diverse. The days of mutilating, disabling surgeries are long gone, and actually modern day neurosurgery is pretty safe and effective. The present era delivery of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other modalities of treatment like the Gamma knife Radiosurgery have also revolutionised the post-surgery results. The mortality and morbidity rates have declined considerably and now we add life to years and not just years to life.
But we have to remember the best way to treat a brain tumour is actually to raise our awareness, so that we detect and treat it in early stages, before it has caused significant harm to our brain or body. So why the scare- Just be aware!!