June 8 has been celebrated as World Brain Tumor Day since the year 2000 when the German Brain Tumor Association (Deutsche Hirntumorhilfe eV) made this day an opportunity to educate the general masses about Brain Tumor. It is crucial to know about brain tumor to help those who are experiencing symptoms suggestive of a brain tumor.
Several symptoms that should be considered as a warning for seeking consultation include early morning headache, persistent or late onset headache (after age 50), vomiting, sudden blurred vision, change in nature of persistent headache , double vision, weakness, balance and walking difficulties. Some symptoms may vary depending on the size, type, and location of the tumor. A better understanding of brain tumors requires basic knowledge of tumors.
A tumor is an unnecessary growth in the cell. These tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous) and can occur in any part of the body. As the name suggests, a brain tumor is a tumor seen in any part of the brain. Brain tumors can be primary or secondary. Primary brain tumor originates in the brain while secondary brain tumor originates in other parts of the body and reaches the brain. Secondary brain tumors are more common than primary ones. In fact, 40% of all malignant tumors have spread to the brain.
Tumors in the brain and central nervous system are also the second most common childhood cancer, accounting for about 26% of childhood cancers. Yet most brain tumors are benign (not cancer). Only one third of all brain tumors are cancerous. Risk factors are primarily exposure to ionizing radiation and a family history of brain tumors. For a better chance of a cure, it is important to detect this tumor at an early stage.
Brain tumors can be diagnosed by CT (computed tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). After diagnosis, several treatment options are available depending on the tumor type (primary or secondary). Many brain tumors such as low-grade astrocytoma, ganglioglioma, meningioma, schwannoma, epidermoid, etc. are completely curable with neuronal navigation, microneurosurgery, skull-based surgery, endoscopic neurosurgery, gamma knife, radiosurgery, or radiotherapy. And also with other brain tumors, the lifespan can be significantly improved if diagnosed early. Therefore, early diagnosis is extremely important, which is only possible if people are aware of the symptoms and risks associated with it.
The above information about brain disease and its treatment is very important for everyone to understand. As a neurologist, I appeal to all readers to adopt a lifestyle that will help you maintain a healthy body and brain. While there are many aspects to understand brain health in detail, in brief follow these 5 points:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat healthy, try to include dark green leafy vegetables and walnuts along with other healthy foods.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Stay mentally active.
- Learn to deal with stress.
Dr. HP Sinha | Senior Consultant – Neurology | NH MMI Narayana Super Specialty Hospital, Raipur