Normal cells grow in a calculated manner. New cells replace old and damaged ones. But a tumour forms when there is an abnormally rapid growth or formation of a mass of abnormal cells. Brain tumours can be benign or cancerous. Brain tumours can originate in the brain or spread to the brain from cancers of other organs such as the lungs or the breast.
Symptoms of brain tumours vary depending on the size and location of the tumour. One of the most common symptoms is headaches, especially those that are worse in the morning, or when asleep or are made worse by coughing, sneezing, or exercise. You may also experience vomiting, blurred or double vision, confusion, seizures, weakness of a limb or part of the face, memory loss, clumsiness, changes in smell, taste or hearing, personality changes, etc. People who are experiencing these symptoms should consult a neurosurgeon right away.
There are many factors that can cause brain tumours. They are-
- Genetic, genetic alterations(sporadic) are the most common cause.
- Family History, it is extremely rare for a brain tumour to be genetically inherited, but if your family has had multiple instances of brain tumour, you’re better off consulting a doctor.
- Age, as with most cancers, the risk of brain tumour increases with age.
- Chemical Exposure, Being constantly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, especially in the work area can increase your chances of brain cancer.
- Radiation Exposure, People who have been exposed to ionising radiation, such as while working with radiation-emitting machines, during past high radiation cancer therapies, or from nuclear fallouts such as that of Chernobyl and Fukushima.
The doctor will first ask for your medical history and perform a physical examination. Physical examination involves the checking of your muscles power, coordination, memory, mathematical ability, observing pupils etc. Then the doctor may prescribe a CT scan, MRI scan or Brain angiography in order to get a clearer picture of your brain tumour. The tumour can put pressure and cause cracks on the skull, which can be observed through CT- Scans.
Each cancer diagnosis is different and hence, doctors decide on a case-by-case basis what is the best treatment methodology.
Medication is used to control some of the symptoms of brain tumours. E.g Steroids such as dexamethasone, are used to reduce the swelling and build-up of fluid around the tumour. Anticonvulsants are used to prevent or control seizures.
Surgery is the most preferred and best solution to brain tumours. The challenge for the Neurosurgeon is to remove as much of the tumour as possible without causing any damage to vital parts of the brain, or impairing the patient’s neurological function.
Adjuncts like Operating Neuro-microscope, Neuro-navigation, Neuro-monitoring, CUSA aid safe surgery. Even if the tumour is partially removed, this can greatly reduce the symptoms and then radiation or chemotherapy can be used on the remaining tumour cells.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy uses high-energy rays to treat tumours. Radiation damages the DNA inside the cells making them unable to divide and grow. Extreme precision is required to make sure only cancer cells are affected and not healthy cells. There are two ways to deliver the radiation, externally and internally. Externally through a machine that emits high-energy rays. Internally, after surgery radioactive pills are placed inside the tumour cavity to kill the cancer cells in the surrounding areas.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs in order to damage tumour cells or prevent their growth. This works by disrupting cell division, normal cells recover fast but tumour cells cannot. These drugs can be taken intravenously, as a pill or placed surgically inside the tumour. Treatment is delivered in cycles so as to make sure your body can rebuild healthy cells after the previous treatment.
Prakriya hospital constitutes a world-class Neuro-Oncology department with a team of the best Neuro-Oncology Specialists in Bangalore, who will provide you holistic care with state-of-the-art facilities at an affordable cost.