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World Brain Tumor Day 2021: All You Need to Know about Brain Tumors, their Symptoms and Treatments

(Representational Photo: Shutterstock)

(Representational Photo: Shutterstock)

World Brain Tumor Day has been observed on June 8 every year since 2000.

With the objective to find a cure, spread awareness on brain tumors, encourage research on the ailment, and recognize the tumor patients and their families, this day was conceived by a German Brain Tumor Association named Deutsche Hirntumorhilfe e.V.

Let’s find out some crucial facts about brain tumors, their symptoms and treatments on this World Brain Tumor Day 2021:

Brain tumor is an unnecessary or abnormal growth of cells in the brain. Based on the intensity of growth, tumors are classified as benign (noncancerous, slow growth rate, curable) and malignant (cancerous, further classified depending upon the tumor’s invasiveness and its potential to multiply).

Owing to the occurrence of this mass of cells, there is an increase in pressure within the brain skull and that leads to the rise in symptoms.

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General signs and symptoms of brain tumors may comprise:

  • Frequent, acute headaches, accompanied by nausea, vomiting at a later stage of the illness
  • Seizures (fits), difficulty in speaking
  • Trouble in vision, hearing, smell, taste
  • Personality or behavioral changes, paralysis of body parts
  • Memory loss, coordination difficulty
  • Muscle weakness, imbalance while walking

Symptoms may vary depending upon the size, location, stage and growth rate of tumors. It is best to consult the doctor in case one experiences any of the symptoms, persistently.

Diagnosis of tumor would include:

  • Neurological examinations (coordination, vision, audio/hearing, balance check)
  • Imaging tests: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There are many specialized MRI scans involved to determine the presence of tumors. Sometimes a dye may be injected through a vein during MRI study for determination. So, there are functional MRI, perfusion MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, SPECT, besides computerized tomography (CT), Positron emission tomography (PET) that can be used to diagnose brain tumors.
  • Biopsy: Testing a sample of abnormal tissue

After diagnosis, if it is found that the tumor is benign then depending upon certain characteristics, neurosurgeons may either remove it completely or leave it to preserve certain nerves and carry out medication as treatment.

In case of malignant tumors, the treatment requires a holistic approach which might include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy with chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy without chemotherapy

To determine and offer the best cure plan to patient, it is helpful and effective to have multidisciplinary board meetings with:

  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Medical Oncologist
  • Radiologist and
  • Pathologist

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first published:June 08, 2021, 08:33 IST