A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of cells (mass of unnecessary cells) in the brain, which upon enlargement exerts pressure on normal brain tissue and vital nerves inside the skull leading to a set of symptoms and signs.
Brain tumours vary in terms of location, type of tissue involved and their degree of malignancy. There are two types of primary brain tumours: Benign Tumours (Non-cancerous, slow-growing or less aggressive) and Malignant Tumours (cancerous, fast-growing or more aggressive). Some of the brain tumours are schwannomas, meningiomas, pituitary acoustic neuromas, adenomas and gliomas. Brain tumours can be metastatic – secondary spread from cancers elsewhere in the body.
The causes of brain tumor are still unknown, though they mostly arise due to specific gene mutations.
Symptoms usually vary. Pressure symptoms of brain tumours include vomiting, blurring of vision, headache, facial paralysis, limb weakness and weakness on one side of the body. The ‘irritation’ due to tumour induced seizures shows different manifestations in different age groups.
In children, these seizures cause excessive irritability, refusal to feed, and vomiting. As the child grows up, there may be other symptoms, such as vision disturbances, headache and weakness on one side of the body. If an adult shows these symptoms from seizures for the first time in life, then he/she has to be taken further for consultation with neurosurgeon/neurologist.
Patients can present with Psychiatric symptoms include abnormal behaviour, problem in speech, and difficulty in understanding: and they usually seek a consultation with a psychiatrist.
No association between cell phone use and the incidence of tumors have been scientifically established. You can limit your exposure by using an earpiece and reducing cell phone use, particularly among children.
The confirmation of the diagnosis is either done by CT scan or MRI. If the tumour 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 tumour has to be understood. The grade and type of the tumour also need to be confirmed.
If the tumor can be removed completely, surgical excision is the first choice. In the case of deep-seated, non-operable tumors the patient is first subjected to a stereotactic/neuro-navigation guided biopsy followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
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, Tumour-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.
M.S; M. Ch (Neurosurgery, AIIMS, New Delhi)
Senior Consultant Neurosurgery
Institute of Neurosciences
Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad