A brain tumor is a collection of faulty brain cells that form a mass. Brain tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Your brain is protected by a highly tough skull. Any expansion in such a small location can generate complications.
The eminent neurosurgeon in India, Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney, says that the strain inside your skull might rise if benign or malignant tumors get larger. This can result in brain damage, which can be fatal.
Types of brain tumor
There are 2 types of brain tumors- primary and secondary.
The origin of a primary brain tumor is in the brain. Many benign primary brain tumors also exist.
Secondary brain tumor, sometimes known as a metastatic brain tumor, can occur when cancer cells from other organs, like your lung or breast, migrate to your brain.
Symptoms of brain tumor
The symptoms of a brain tumour can vary depending on the tumor's location and size. Some tumors infiltrate your brain tissue and cause direct injury, while others put pressure and damage the surrounding brain.
When a growing tumor presses down your brain tissue, you will experience symptoms like headaches that:
- Are worse when you wake up
- Occur when you are asleep
- Worsen when you cough, sneeze, or exercise
Symptoms also include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Double or blurred vision
- Fuzzy mind or confusion
- Seizures, usually in adults
- Weakness in parts of the face or limbs
- A decline in mental functioning
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty in reading or writing
- Reduced ability in taste, smell, or hearing
- Reduced alertness and drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Tingling or numbness on a part or side of the body
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Drooping eyelids or unequal pupils
- Uncontrollable tremors and movements
- Loss of balance
- Inability to control bladder or bowel movement
- Trouble talking
- Trouble understanding others
- Changes in emotions, mood, behavior, and personality
- Difficulty walking
- Weakness in the face or limbs
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, please speak with Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney, among the top neurosurgeons in Mumbai, for reliable diagnosis and treatment options.
How is a brain tumor diagnosed?
Doctors use several tests to assess the diagnosis of a brain tumor, such as:
- Physical examination and medical records:
Your doctor will conduct a general health examination to search for indicators of sickness or illness. Your doctor will also inquire about past and present medical issues, surgeries and medical treatments, and disease history in your family.
The doctor will take a tissue sample with a needle from the tumor through a small incision in the skull. A laboratory examines the sample to determine the tumor's characteristics, such as how rapidly it is growing and if it is spreading.
- Imaging tests:
MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, and SPECT scans are used by clinicians to look for tumors and assess whether they are benign or malignant. The doctor may examine other areas of your body, such as the breasts, lungs, or colon, to determine where cancer began.
- Neurological test:
The doctor will look for impairments in your balance, hearing, vision, coordination, mental status, and reflexes during a neurological exam. These alterations could indicate that a tumor is affecting a portion of your brain.
- Spinal tap:
The doctor uses a tiny needle to retrieve fluid from around your spine. This fluid is examined in a laboratory for cancer cells, which could suggest a malignant tumor in your central nervous system.
When brain tumors are diagnosed as carcinogenic, clinicians divide them into four categories - 1 [slow growing/least malignant] to 4 [fast growing/most malignant].
The acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney adds that a tumor's grade shows how quickly it develops and is likely to spread. This helps the doctor decide which treatment option would be most effective for you.
What are the treatment options for a brain tumor?
The following factors influence brain tumor treatment:
- type of tumor
- the tumor's size
- location of the tumor
- your overall health
The most prevalent treatment for brain tumors is surgery. The aim is to extract as much cancer as possible while avoiding damage to the brain's healthy regions.
While the placement of some tumors allows for safe extraction, others may be in a region where only a small portion of the tumor can be removed. Even partial brain cancer removal can be advantageous.
Surgical removal of clinically threatening benign tumors is also performed. Metastatic brain tumors are treated according to original cancer standards.
Other treatments include chemotherapy and radiation therapy which can be coupled with surgery.
What are the causes of a brain tumor?
Most the brain tumors are unknown to doctors. Mutations (alterations) or abnormalities in the genes can cause some brain cells to multiply out of control, resulting in a tumor.
Following are the risk factors that can cause a brain tumor:
Only around 5 - 10% of all malignancies are hereditary or genetically inherited. A genetically inherited brain tumor is pretty uncommon. If multiple people in your family have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, speak to a doctor. Your doctor can refer you to a genetic counselor.
The risk for many types of brain tumors increases as people get older.
- Exposure to chemicals
Certain chemicals, like the ones found in a work setting, can raise your risk of developing brain cancer. The NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) records a database of potentially cancer-causing substances found in workplaces.
- Radiation exposure
Brain tumors are more common in individuals exposed to ionizing radiation. High-radiation cancer therapy can expose you to ionizing radiation. Nuclear fallout can also potentially expose you to radiation.
The Fukushima and Chornobyl nuclear power plant disasters show how individuals might be exposed to ionizing radiation.
Can you prevent a brain tumor?
Dr. Gurneet Sawhney says that although a brain tumor cannot be prevented, you can lower your risk by keeping away from environmental hazards like smoking and excessive radiation exposure.
Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney is counted among the preferred neurosurgeons for people who require brain surgery in Mumbai.
The therapies that will help you recover after neurosurgery include:
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- speech therapy
People with brain tumors have a wide range of outcomes. The type of tumor, the grade, and location of the tumor, successful removal of the entire tumor, as well as your age and general health are all factors that can affect your prognosis.
When a tumor grows and exerts pressure on your skull and brain tissue, it can cause difficulties that are challenging for you and your loved ones. It is crucial that you seek treatment early to help prevent these issues.
The proficient neurosurgeon in Mumbai, Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney, adds that early treatment may also aid in the prevention of malignant tumors from spreading to other brain structures.
With over 14 years of expertise in neurosciences, he can assist you in determining the best treatment plan for you to avoid complications and manage any symptoms you may be experiencing