Brain and its functions :
The Brain is the main part of the central nervous systems. The brain is divided into three parts forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The brain weighs about 3 lbs in weight. It performs all the vital functions such as directing the sensory movements, and other important functions.
What is a brain tumor?
The brain consists of cells that divide, grow, die, and new cells are created and sometimes in these cases an individual may experience abnormal growth of cells in the brain which forms a lump or mass. This is termed as a brain tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Malignancy means it can spread to other parts of the brain. When benign or malignant tumors grow out of proportion they can cause the pressure inside the skull to increase, causing brain damage and it can be life-threatening.
Types of Brain tumors
Brain tumors can be classified as primary brain tumors or secondary brain tumors. Primary Brain tumors originate in the brain cells. Secondary brain tumors originate in some other area and reach the brain. There are about 120 types of brain tumors that are recognized and named. The tumors can be benign or malignant and are classified usually from grade 1 to grade 4 tumors base on the extent of their malignancy. The most common types of brain tumors are Acoustic Neuroma, Astrocytoma, and chordoma, Craniopharyngioma,Brainstem Glioma, Ependymoma and Mixed Glioma. Secondary brain tumors also referred as metastatic brain tumors originate from elsewhere and due to malignancy may spread to the brain.
Most of the symptoms may start showing up usually in the secondary stages. The main symptoms are :
- Frequent Headaches
- Nausea, vomiting
- Speech Differences
- Loss of balance
- Loss of Memory
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Sudden seizures
- Changes in taste or smell
- Hearing problems
These symptoms may signal the presence of Brain tumors but essentially do not signify the same and may occur due to any underlying causes.
Causes and risk factors :
Causes of brain tumors are being identified; meanwhile, research points out those mainly genetic factors, family history do cause brain tumors. Gene mutations may definitely work in carrying the risk of brain cancers. Other factors may include exposure to harmful chemicals, cement, asbestos or radiation. Ionizing radiation is identified as a cause for brain tumors. Many people in Fukushima and Chernobyl have faced such instances.
Tests and Diagnostics to help detect Brain tumors :
Brain tumors are diagnosed through three different ways, diagnostic tests, physical evaluation of the patient and laboratory tests as well. At KIMS, our oncologists and neurosurgeons act as a team to identify and treat brain tumors in a very structured and comprehensive manner. The doctor will evaluate the patient physically and observe all the movements of eyes, hands and toes. The doctor may decide to evaluate you on the mathematical calculations you do, your muscle strength, the way you speak and the gait you exhibit. The doctors may ask you to go in for a CT scan of the Brain or MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain. Skull X-rays and biopsy may also be done to know the size shape and location of the tumor, and what is the best line of treatment to be administered. The tumor may press certain important positions in the brain that may cause damage extensively.
Line of Treatment :
Based on the reports obtained, the doctors at KIMS decide the best line of treatment as suited to the prognosis of the patient. Factors such as age, overall health condition are evaluated before treatment. The patient and the family members are counseled and the treatment procedure begins after their consent. For nonmalignant grade 1 tumors, surgery may be the best option. For tumors that are big and show signs of malignancy that is extensive, our experts may consider chemotherapy and radiation therapy as well.
The main aim would be to stop malignancy and remove the tumor once and for all and prevent its reoccurrence. Based on the size of tumor, there is an option for patients at KIMS Hospitals to have treatment with external beam Radiation Therapy, Craniotomy Surgery or Robotic Surgery; which have been very helpful in treating brain tumors.
Preventive Steps :
We for sure know that radiation is one of the underlying causes of brain tumors and hence we must not expose ourselves to harmful radiations. We must take care that we stay away from harmful chemical toxins or poisonous gasses emitted from factories. We must follow a healthy lifestyle, proper diet, maintain one sexual partner, enjoy life and stay happy always. Keeping fit, eating right and staying composed help avoid many diseases.
Brain Tumor Treatment at KIMS Hospitals :
KIMS is the only hospital in Hyderabad with a rare distinction of having the best team of neurosurgeons. Many critical neurosurgeries especially brain tumors have been successfully performed over the years with good positive outcomes. We have a special pediatric unit to cater to children with brain tumors. Any exigencies are handled as we have round the clock doctors and staff to attend the patients all the time.