June 22, 2024

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Constant headaches, vertigo and weakness in arms & legs needs to be examined thoroughly, says Dr Harmandeep Brar

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Mohali, June 7, 2024: Brain tumour is a neurological disorder and affects several people across the world each year. To raise awareness on the disease and its related complications, World Brain Tumour Day is observed on the 8th of June every year.

The International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR) has stated that around 28,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumour in India every year, and over 24,000 patients die annually due to the disease. The report further states that the incidence of brain tumours in India is about 5-10 per 100000 of the population.

Dr (Lt Col) Harmandeep Singh Brar, Consultant, Neuro Surgery, Fortis Hospital Mohali, through an advisory gives us an insight into brain tumour and its treatment options.

What is brain tumour?
Stating that brain tumour was an abnormal growth of cells in the brain or its covering (meninges), Dr Brar, added, “It can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Only about one-third (27.9%) of the brain tumours are malignant. It can be a primary CNS tumour or a secondary tumour.”

Common risk factors

· Genetic or hereditary: About 5-10% of the patients have a positive family history of brain tumours.

· Environmental factors: Exposure to high dose radiation increases the risk of brain cancer.

· Age: Brain tumour can develop at any age but it is more common in the fifth and sixth decade of life.

· Gender: Malignant (cancerous) tumours are more common in males and benign lesions frequently occur are in females.

Signs & symptoms

Stressing that the warning signs of brain tumour depended on the size, location and its type, Dr Brar, added, “The most common symptoms included headaches, which is severe during the early morning hours, and is associated with vomiting. One may also experience seizures or fits, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs (paralysis), speech disturbances, vision problems, hearing problems or tinnitus, difficulty in swallowing, and imbalance while walking or experiencing vertigo.”

Treatment options
Discussing that the diagnosis of a brain tumour depended upon the presence of clinal symptoms such as headaches or seizures, Dr Brar, said, “Other related symptoms along with neurological examinations and radiological examinations such as NCCT (Computed Tomography) of the head and a Contrast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the brain could help detect the disease.” The spectrum of treatment options includes surgery, biopsy, craniotomy for excision of the tumour and the most advanced Neuronavigation-based surgery, which can precisely excise the tumour without damaging the normal brain tissue. Depending upon the type of tumour, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be used alone or as an adjunct to the surgical management.

Prevention
Stating that though brain tumours could not be prevented, Dr Brar, added, “Adoption of a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, regular exercise, health check-ups and avoiding environmental hazards such as unnecessary radiation exposure can help in early detection and treatment.”

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