By Dr Mazda Turel
Brain tumours are abnormal cell growths within the brain that can be either benign or malignant. While they are relatively rare, accounting for one to two per cent of all cancers worldwide, they can have a significant impact on individuals and communities. It is crucial to raise awareness about brain tumours, improve diagnosis and treatment options, and provide support to those affected. This article provides an overview of brain tumours, including their types, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and the significance of International Brain Tumour Day.
Brain tumours can originate within the brain (primary tumours) or spread from other parts of the body (secondary or metastatic tumours). There are various types of brain tumours, including gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, medulloblastomas, ependymomas, and metastatic tumours. Each type has unique characteristics and requires tailored treatment approaches.
Symptoms of brain tumours
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Symptoms of brain tumours can vary depending on their location and size. Common symptoms include persistent headaches, seizures, changes in vision or hearing, difficulty speaking or understanding language, loss of balance or coordination, memory problems, and personality or behaviour changes.
How brain tumours can be diagnosed
Diagnosing brain tumours involves a combination of medical history evaluation, neurological examination, imaging tests (such as MRI or CT scans), and sometimes a biopsy. It is important to consider imaging for any headache that does not improve within two weeks despite medication.
How brain tumours can be treated
The treatment of brain tumours depends on factors such as the type, size, location, and grade of the tumour, as well as the patient’s overall health. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgical adjuncts like intraoperative imaging, neuronavigation, and robotics have enhanced treatment outcomes, while advances in radiation oncology have improved results. The treatment plan is determined by a multidisciplinary team of specialists who consider the best approach for each individual case.
Prognosis of brain tumours
The prognosis for brain tumours varies widely and depends on several factors, including the type and grade of the tumour, its location, the patient’s age and overall health, and the extent of surgical removal. Some brain tumours can be successfully treated or managed, while others may have a poorer prognosis. Early and accurate diagnosis is crucial for initiating appropriate treatment and improving outcomes.
Raising awareness of brain tumour
International Brain Tumour Day, observed on June 8th each year, serves as a global platform to raise awareness about brain tumours, support patients and their families, and promote research and advocacy efforts. On this day, various activities and events are organised by patient advocacy groups, healthcare organisations, and research institutions. These activities include educational seminars, public awareness campaigns, fundraising events, support group meetings, and social media campaigns. The aim is to foster understanding, provide support, encourage collaboration, and promote advancements in research and treatment options.
Brain tumours pose a significant challenge to individuals and communities worldwide. It is essential to increase awareness, improve early diagnosis, and enhance treatment options for better outcomes. International Brain Tumour Day plays a vital role in supporting patients, raising funds for research, and fostering collaboration among healthcare professionals, researchers, policymakers, and the general public. By joining forces, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by brain tumours.
(The author is a brain and spine surgeon at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central)
[Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.]
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