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Monday, June 14, 2021

World Brain Tumor Day: Don’t ignore persistent headache, warn experts

On World Brain Tumor Day, Dr. Anupam Jindal, Additional Director, Neurosurgery, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, elaborates on the early signs, risk factors, correct diagnosis and treatment associated with brain tumors.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
June 9, 2021 8:29:13 pm
While most headaches do not have serious consequences and are not fatal, in certain cases they may signal towards a serious health condition such as tumour of the brain. (Representational Photo/File)

Headaches are the most common neurological disorder experienced by most of us. Several factors can contribute to headaches of various intensity which mostly do not require any medical attention.

While most headaches do not have serious consequences and are not fatal, in certain cases they may signal towards a serious health condition such as tumour of the brain. On World Brain Tumor Day, Dr. Anupam Jindal, Additional Director, Neurosurgery, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, elaborates on the early signs, risk factors, correct diagnosis and treatment associated with brain tumors.

Understanding brain tumor

Brain tumor is a lump in the brain caused by uncontrolled growth of cells, disrupting the brain function. These are primarily of two types :malignant and benign. Based on their severity, brain tumors are characterised under Grade I, Grade II, Grade III and Grade IV – the latter being the most harmful. More than 28,000 cases of brain tumors are reported in India each year, according to a report issued by the International Association of Cancer Registries (IARC)

Early symptoms

The early symptoms of brain tumor include persistent headaches, nausea and vomiting in the morning, seizures, fatigue, drowsiness, memory loss, difficulty in walking and speech discrepancies. If anyone is experiencing any of these symptoms, one should immediately seek medical attention as early diagnosis can reduce the severity of the disease.

Risk factors

While, one may not be aware about the causes of what may cause a brain tumor, there are several risk factors which may increase the person’s risk of developing a brain tumor:

Age: Brain tumors are common in children and older adults, although people of any age can develop a brain tumor.

Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop a brain tumor. However, some specific types of brain tumors, such as meningioma, are more common in women.

Exposure to certain chemicals: Exposure to solvents, pesticides, vinyl chloride may increase the risk of developing a brain tumor. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this.

Family history: About 5% of brain tumors may be linked to hereditary genetic factors or conditions

Head injury and seizures: Serious head trauma has long been studied and associated for its relationship to brain tumors.

Elaborating on the technological advancements related to treatment of brain tumors, Dr Jindal, said, “Neuronavigation is the latest computer-assisted technology, apart from surgical intervention, radiation and chemotherapy, that helps us in treating brain tumors. Under neuronavigation, patients are treated with an advanced neuro operating 3D microscope. Computer-assisted neuronavigation allows surgeons to navigate inside the skull with the help of specialised computers that process the scans of affected areas in the brain and convert them into three-dimensional images. It also features an infrared dual camera system that tracks the surgeon’s instruments during surgery and displays its position. In case of a tumor, doctors are able to navigate to the exact location of the growth and excise it with precision, thereby reducing the risk of injury to normal nerves and tissues nearby.

Living a healthy lifestyle by following a healthy regime — exercising, eating well, avoiding tobacco and alcohol — can help to prevent the risk, especially in the Covid era, where people are confined to homes with less mobility, added Dr Jindal.

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