As brain is one of the most vital human organs, it’s imperative that it should always function normally. Any impediment to its functioning either in the form of injury or tumor i.e. uncontrollable growth of unwanted cells can be quite fatal and needs to be treated immediately. The brain is composed of nerve cells and supportive tissues with three major parts: brain stem, cerebellum, and cerebrum that together control breathing, muscle movements and our senses like sight, emotions, and thinking.
What is Brain tumor
Brain tumors can happen at any age and doctors have not yet been able to determine the exact causes of it. There are three major types of brain tumor that affect adults including Astrocytomas that occur in the cerebrum; Meningiomas that occur in meninges; and Oligodendrogliomas that affect the cells covering the nerves. However, in the case of children, the most common types are Medulloblastoma, Astrocytoma, brain stem glioma, and Ependymoma.
While we may not know the exact cause for tumor growth, there are many factors that can increase the likelihood of developing one including exposure to radiations and genetics i.e. family history of tumors.
Signs and Symptoms of Brain Tumor
The signs and symptoms of any cancerous growth depends on the size, location, and type of the tumor. Doctors classify brain tumors by grade (I-IV). The grade is decided by looking at cells under a microscope. And higher the grade means higher its severity. There are two types of symptoms of brain tumor: general and specific. A general symptom could be observed when you feel the pressure of cancerous cells on the brain or spinal cord. Specific symptoms occurs when a specific part of the brain is affected or damaged by tumor.
The most common and initial symptoms of brain tumor include headache, numbness in arms or legs, mood and personality changes, seizures, balance and movement related problems, memory issues, nausea and sometimes even changes in speech, and vision. However, not all people show same sign and symptoms of brain tumor. Some cases may not show any symptoms till the tumor reaches advanced level while in other cases, they could help to nip the tumor in the bud.
Symptoms specific to the location of the tumor include:
- Severe pressure or pain at a specific point
- A tumor in the cerebellum results in loss of balance and problems with fine motor skills.
- A tumor in the frontal lobe of the cerebrum could possibly lead to sluggishness, changes in judgment, and muscle weakness.
- A temporal lobe tumor of the cerebrum often results in partial or full loss of vision.
- A tumor in the frontal lobe of the cerebrum results in changes in speech, hearing, emotional state such as excessive aggression and memory loss.
- Altered perception of touch is linked to a tumor in the parietal lobe of the cerebrum.
- Pineal gland tumor causes inability to look upward
- A tumor in the temporal lobe, or brain stem can lead to vision changes, including partial vision or double vision.
If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis goes a long way in successful treatment of the cancer. After an in-depth and detailed analysis of the symptoms, spread and patient’s health condition doctors then suggest one or combination of following treatment options.
1. Surgery: As brain is a quite sensitive organ, surgery is resorted in only selective cases i.e. if the tumor is located in the area that makes it possible for an operation.
2. Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy kills tumor cells using high-energy beams. It is usually given after the surgery or with chemotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells in the brain.
3. Chemotherapy: This treatment for brain tumor kills or slows down tumor cells through the usage of drugs. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally in the form of pills or directly injected into the vein.
4. Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy involves targeting the specific genes and proteins of the tissue that helps metatise the tumor. This therapy is used to save the healthy cells from the malignant cells by destroying them.
5. Embolization: In this procedure, first an Angiography is performed to check the arteries that are supplying blood to the tumors. Once the arteries are found, the blood supply is blocked with a plug so the tumor can die due to the scarcity of blood.
6. Alternating electric field therapy: Another popular and quite effective brain tumor treatment is the Alternating electric field therapy in which an electrode is placed on the outside of the person’s brain to produce an electric field that will intervene in the cells which are responsible for the growth and spread of the tumor cells.
India: the medical tourism hub of the world
With the advancement in medical sciences and modern infrastructure, India is today counted amongst the most preferred nation to undergo brain tumor treatment across the word. Besides the quality of the treatment, the cost and the time-effectiveness are the other factors that draws foreign nationals. Another asset of India is its doctors that are considered the most trustworthy and experienced in the world. You can trust MedMonks to help you find the best doctor and hospital that fits into your budget. Besides these services, we also help you with other non-medical aspects of you stay in India like hotels, travelling, reviewing of medical visas etc.