Early Diagnosis & Timely Action Can Aid Brain Tumour Patients to Faster Recovery: KIMS Neurosurgeon

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Brain tumors can happen in any age group, but not all cases are cancerous and timely detection and treatment can help in early cure and return to normal life, eminent neurosurgeon at KIMS Bhubaneswar Dr. Narendra Kumar Das has said.

Dr Das, credited with hundreds of surgeries on brain tumors, said brain tumors could also have some genetic linkage. Besides, he also alluded to the risk of overuse of cell phones and its potential impact on brains, studies of which are currently underway.

“Brain tumors can occur or develop in any person at any age and no one can say who will suffer from it. However, contrary to the general perception, not all brain tumors are cancerous. Only 30 to 35 percent of cases might lead to such conditions.  A large number of patients with brain tumors are treatable and curable. However it depends on the nature of the tumor,” he said on the occasion of World Brain Tumour Awareness Day, celebrated on June 8 every year.

The day was first observed by the German Brain Tumour Association in 2000. Since then, it is observed annually on June 8 as a tribute to all patients suffering from a brain tumor.

Dr Das said most people diagnosed with malignant brain tumors live less than 5 years, but those with non-malignant tumors usually survive much longer. The 5-year survival rate for malignant tumors is 35.8% compared to 91.5% for non-malignant tumors.

Symptoms:

Some of the symptoms possibly linked to a brain tumor could be headache, vomiting, convulsions, paralysis or loss of function, vision loss, hearing loss, difficulty in walking, communication, and speech abnormalities. Hence, if a person realises his/her family thinks that the patient could be suffering from a brain tumor or having any of the above symptoms, then the immediate step is to consult a neurologist or a neurosurgeon.

Dr Das also made it clear that the occurrence of the tumor could only be unambiguously confirmed from tests like CT scans and MRI scans of the brain etc. These tests can help in describing the size, location, and type of brain tumor which is essential for treatment planning and prognosis.

Types:

The common types of brain tumors are Astrocytoma, Glioblastoma, Meningioma, Metastatic tumor, schwannomas, pituitary tumor, medulloblastoma, etc.

Treatment:

Surgery is the most common treatment for brain tumors. The surgeon removes as much of the cancerous / tumor cells as possible without damaging healthy brain tissue.

Thanks to advancements in medical science, surgery has become minimally invasive and an effective means to treat the disease.

Modern surgical equipment such as specialized microscopes, neuro navigation systems, intraoperative monitoring systems, intraoperative CT scans Neuro endoscopic systems etc has played a pivotal role in treating brain tumor cases successfully, Dr. Das said.

“The neurosurgery operative procedure is now done in a very precise and safe manner with minimum injury to tissues and blood loss,” he said.

Some cancerous brain tumors may require adjuvant treatment such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and radiosurgery.

He also spoke about “Awake Craniotomy”, which is helping the patients to recover in a better way. It is a type of procedure performed while the patient remains awake and alert. It allows the surgeon to assess in real-time how the removal of tissue will affect speech, vision, and movement function.

For example, Dr Das said if a singer is suffering from a tumor that may affect his/her speech or singing ability then awake craniotomy can help in preserving the speech function. The surgeon performs the operation while the patient is awake and singing.

After the brain tumor surgery, the majority of the patients recover quickly. However, the recovery depends on whether the tumor is cancerous or non-cancerous and the condition in which the patient has come to the hospital. If the patient reaches the doctor late and with a neurological deficit, then the recovery may not be good.

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