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Every year on 8th of June, we observe World Brain Tumour Day. This day is observed especially to spread awareness regarding this deadly disease and its symptoms, to tell people to get diagnosed and treated early. timely treatment can prevent any kind of complication and may also result in prevention. On this day, the entire world conducts activities and campaigns to spread knowledge regarding the disease. Let us get back to basics, what is brain tumour?
When there is an abnormal growth of cells within the brain, a tumour may form. The mass of cells may multiple and divide further and very fast to form a tumour in the brain tissue. The effects of this tumour can be very different for each person. It all depends on the characteristics of the tumour that has formed or it can depend on other individual factors also. But, a tumour left unchecked is very dangerous and could turn fatal. This is when we remind people to get checked. There are various stages of signs and symptoms that may show up and recognizing these signs is important to get timely treatment. Brain tumor can impact the brain function. But the extent of tis impact defends of the areas it affects and the rate of growth of the tumour.
Treatments of brain tumour aims at removing, shrinking or stopping the growth of the tumour through different therapies. This can save you or your loved one.
Symptom Management: Aside from the growing size of the tumour, it also causes other symptoms like headaches, cognitive changes, seizures, sensory disturbances and balance problems. Prompt treatment can alleviate these symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life.
Tumour Growth Control:Brain tumour grows in size very fast. Once the cells start multiplying, it is unstoppable. The size of the tumour can increase the pressure on the skull. There are treatments which can stop the growth of the tumour like, radiation therapy or surgery or chemotherapy. These therapies aim to either remove the tumour or shrink it. Either way, they can stop its growth and prevent complications.
Improved Prognosis: The prognosis of brain tumour depends of a couple of factors. Firstly, the type, secondly, the stage and lastly, the location. The outcomes are better if the detection is early. This could ensure better treatment. In case, it is delayed, the treatment and removal of the tumour may be more difficult and challenging. It may impact the prognosis.
Prevention of Neurological Damage: A tumour growing inside the brain also exerts a lot of pressure on the tissues surrounding the brain. This can lead to neurological deficits. If this is not treated at the right time, it can cause permanent brain damage. It can damage critical structures of the brain, result in long-term functional impairments like paralysis, cognitive decline or difficulties in speech.
A Neurosurgeon from Fortis Research Memorial Institute, Gurgaon spoke to The Health Site regarding brain tumour and its treatment. He says, early diagnosis of brain tumors is crucial for effective treatment. If a tumor is identified early and determined to be benign, it may not require major surgery and can instead be treated with radiosurgery, specifically using a procedure known as gamma knife. Gamma knife treatment eliminates the need for open brain surgery, as it can effectively control and shrink the tumors without making any incisions. However, if the tumor has grown significantly by the time of diagnosis, gamma knife treatment may not be feasible, and surgical intervention becomes necessary. In cases of malignant tumors, early diagnosis enables safer surgeries with better outcomes. It allows for more precise excision of the tumor and improves the chances of successful removal. Conversely, if the tumor is large and has spread to multiple areas of the brain, surgery becomes challenging, and the results may be less favorable. Therefore, early diagnosis is highly advantageous for patients.
On being asked about the kinds of treatments available Dr Vaishya says, "Regarding therapies to shrink tumors during treatment, one approach commonly used during surgery is cauterization. The tumor can be burned using bipolar cautery, which is a simple method to induce shrinkage. Additionally, a specialized device called cusa is utilized, which not only cuts the tumor but also suctions it away. This rapid cutting and suctioning process aids in reducing the tumor size.
He goes on to say, "While lasers were previously used for certain brain tumors, their application has significantly declined in recent times. Another non-invasive technique for tumor reduction is gamma knife, which can be employed when tumors persist after surgery or when they are small and detected in their early stages. Gamma knife treatment effectively burns and shrinks the tumors without requiring direct surgical intervention."
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