What is a Brain Tumor?
It is a mass of abnormal cells in the brain. It can form in any lobe of the brain. There are two kinds of brain tumor, the benign and the malignant. They can occur at any age. There are four grades of brain tumor, and the higher the grade, the more aggressive the tumor is. The most common types of brain tumors are astrocytoma, meningioma, oligodendroglia, medulloblastoma, ependymoma, and brain stem glioma.
Is It a Brain Tumor?
It all starts with a headache. There is nobody who did not have a headache till now. It is one of the most common aches a person has. In fact, there are numerous types of headaches. But, do you have a headache along with worries, and anxiety? Do you check the internet for diseases with your symptoms? Then, you do have brain tumor!
Calm down, It is just a joke. The serious aspect of it is that half knowledge that is derived from the internet is dangerous. It has become a trigger of anxiety for many. It is always good to know about your body and good to know about medical conditions. But, for God’s sake, please do not jump to conclusions that you have a particular disease.
It is better to consult a doctor apart from satiating your need for medical knowledge. Anxiety is a major cause for many ailments! Please cure yourself of that acidic feeling of anxiety.
So, before jumping to any rash conclusion, know more about what headaches are and when that could be a manifestation of a brain tumor, it is crucial that one can distinguish a harmless irritant versus a dangerous condition called brain tumor.
Types of Brain Tumor
Primary Brain Tumor:
A primary brain tumor is that which originates in the brain. This can either be benign or metastatic.
Secondary Brain Tumor:
A secondary brain tumor originates in some other part of the body and sends cells to the brain and they grow there. These are cancerous. Benign brain tumors normally have definite borders, and are not rooted deep in the brain tissue. Benign tumors also pose serious threats as they damage the cells around them and cause inflammation.
What does a tumor do?
- It invades and destroys the brain tissue.
- It puts pressure on the nearby cells and causes inflammation.
- It increases intracranial pressure.
- Induces fluid accumulation.
- Causes bleeding.
- Stops circulation of cerebrospinal fluid.
The causes of brain tumor are still unknown, though they mostly arise due to specific gene mutations.
The confirmation of the diagnosis is either done by CT scan or MRI. If the tumor is deemed to be highly vascular or is crossing any important blood vessel an angiogram is suggested. PET scan can be used when the spread or functionality of the tumor has to be understood. The grade and type of the tumor also need to be confirmed.
Symptoms of Brain Tumor:
Symptoms vary from person to person and depend upon the location of the tumor. Here is a list of symptoms.
- Frequent Headaches
- Mood Changes
- Personality Changes
- Reduced Ability to think
- Loss of Appetite
- Decreased ability to learn
- Difficulty in speaking and walking
- Loss of sensation in the extremities
- Blurred or double vision
- Hearing Problem
It is very important to get a medical evaluation immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. You need to consult a neurologist or a neurosurgeon immediately.
There are other conditions that mimic the symptoms of brain tumor. Pseudotumor Cerebri is one of them. It is also called false brain tumor. This condition manifests in the form of increased intracranial pressure, which might be due to lack of absorption of cerebrospinal fluid. Causes of pseudotumor cerebri range from obesity to treatment for other diseases.
It is for this reason that a thorough medical examination is very important.
Treatment for Brain Tumor
The most widely used treatments are surgery:
- Radiation Therapy
Many people with brain tumors undergo surgery orastereotactic brain surgery in which the tumor is removed with the assistance of image guidance, leaving the healthy brain relatively intact. Neuroendoscopy is another minimally-invasive surgical procedure where the tumor is removed through small holes in the skull, mouth or nose, enabling neurosurgeons to access areas of the brain that cannot be reached with traditional surgery.
Choosing the right Treatment & Facility Makes the Difference
In times when disease and conditions spread and overlap beyond specific disciplines/specialties, brain tumor patients must choose a facility that offers them with comprehensive and complete pre- and post-operative care under one roof. Before the operation, a careful study of all the CT/MRI scans is required and the route and type of operation should then be decided after discussing the risks and benefits of the surgery with the patient.
Ideally, patients should choose a facility that has the latest technology accompanied by highly trained Neurosurgeon (a surgeon specialized in the surgical management of brain disorders), who work with other specialists to deliver most appropriate treatment for each patient. Apart from a neurosurgeon, brain tumor treatment team may involve neuro-anesthetists, neuro-radiologists, medical & radiation oncologists, interventional neurologists, post-operative care intensivists, trained nurses, rehabilitation specialists and other allied healthcare professionals
Department of Neurosurgery, Institute of Neurosciences at Apollo Health City, Hyderabad has the best of minds and experienced neurosurgeons and is equipped with the state-of-the-art operating microscope, Tumor-specific intraoperative fluorescence imaging, and Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. Neuro-navigation system improves the precision of the surgery. They are also in the process of installing Intraoperative MRI used in various neurosurgical procedures.
Five of the Best Brain Foods
- Oily Fish: Omega 3 fatty acid are ideal for healthy brain function as it helps to build brain cell membranes. This Omega 3 fatty acid naturally occurs in fishes like Salmon, Sardines and Mackerel. It is an essential nutrition recommended for pregnant mothers and children for early brain development.
- Blueberries: Eating blueberries will improve memory and it is the safest way to boost brain power. It is rich in antioxidants when compared to other commonly eaten fruits.
- Pumpkin seed: Rich in Omega 3 fatty acid and zinc ,Pumpkin seed helps to improve brain power by enhancing memory and focus. Eating these seed raw is best to relive stress and to maintain mental health.
- Avocado: Being a single seeded berry avocado is highly nutritious. It is high in monosaturated fatty acids and helps to keep the brain cell membrane flexible. It prevents from memory loss disorders.
- Dark Chocolate: Eating dark chocolate boost your mood with the chemicals called endorphins. It helps to reduce stress and increase blood flow to the brain which will enhance the memory and problem solving skills.
Brain Tumor Survival Rate
The survival rates of patients vary with the size, location, and the type of the tumor. Survival rates are generally measured in terms of the survival of the patients for five years after the diagnosis. Between the ages of 45 to 64 years, the survival rate percentage is 16%. The survival rate percentage for children is 55% . The survival rate percentage for people of the ages 15 to 45 years is also 55%.
Early diagnosis is a very important aspect in recovery. Constant follow up is also a major aspect of care and management as brain tumor is known to recur.