Every year on June 8th, World Brain Tumor Day is celebrated. The German Brain Tumor Association initiated this campaign, which is now celebrated globally to raise awareness and educate people about brain tumors. There are many misconceptions and myths concerning brain tumors among the general public, so we'll use this chance to clarify some of them.
Working with your medical team to establish the best course of therapy for you is critical. In India, the rate of Central Nervous System (CNS) tumors varies between 5 and 10 per 100,000 people.
Tumors in the brain are different from tumors in other parts of the body. Because of the skull, there isn't much area for it to expand. This means that a developing tumor can suffocate important brain areas, causing major health consequences. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor might help you decide whether it's time to see a doctor.
Where Brain Cancers Start and Spread
A brain tumor is a mass or an abnormal cell growth inside the brain. There are different types of brain tumors. Some of the brain tumors are noncancerous (benign), and others are cancerous (malignant).
Primary brain tumors start in the brain and tend to stay there
Secondary brain tumors are more prevalent than primary brain tumors. These tumors begin elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer are some of the most common tumors that spread to the brain.
Symptoms of Brain Tumor
The symptoms of brain tumors differ depending on the type and location of the tumor. Because different parts of the brain govern different bodily activities, the location of the tumor has an impact on the symptoms you experience.
Some tumors are asymptomatic until they reach a certain size, at which point they cause a serious and quick deterioration in health. Other cancers may have slow-developing symptoms.
Headaches may not get better with the usual headache remedies. Here are some common symptoms:
Changes in speech or hearing
Changes in vision
Problems with walking
Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
Problems with memory
Inability to concentrate
Weakness in one part of the body
Morning vomiting without nausea
How Brain Cancer Is Treated
The treatment depends on the type and grade of cancer, where it's located, its size, age, and health of the patient.
Surgery is usually the first way to proceed to treatment. For grade 1 tumors (cancer cell grows slowly), surgery may be enough. It is possible that cancer can be removed. But even if it isn’t, the surgery can reduce the size and ease symptoms.
Postoperative, radiation therapy is performed to eliminate any remaining tumor cells. If surgery is not an option, radiation therapy may be your only alternative.
Chemotherapy is sometimes used to eliminate cancer cells in the brain. It's given by mouth, IV, or, less often, wafers implanted in the brain by a surgeon.
Certain types of brain tumors can be treated with targeted therapy. These drugs target specific components of cancer cells and help in the prevention of tumor growth and dissemination.
Your doctor may also recommend combined therapies.
If you have cancer, it's important to stick to your treatment plan, work with your doctor, and attend all of your scheduled appointments.
By Dr. Ajay Reddy is a Consultant (Neuro Oncology) at American Oncology Institute