Are All Brain Tumours Fatal? Expert Explains The Answer
A brain tumor is a mass or lump in the brain, which is caused when brain cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled way.
The two main groups of brain tumors are termed primary and metastatic
Malignant brain tumours can be identified as Brain cancer. They can be divided into low-grade brain cancer and high-grade cancers. Brain cancer can spread to other parts of the brain or the spine but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. If cancerous cells develop elsewhere in the body first and then spread to the brain, this is called secondary brain cancer or brain metastasis. Brain tumours also include both benign brain diseases as well as brain cancers.
According to a report published by the National Health Portal of India, the incidence of central nervous system (CNS) tumours in India ranges from 5 to 10 per 100,000 populations with an increasing trend. Metastatic brain tumours occur when cancer located in another organ of the body spreads to the brain. 40% of all cancers spread to the brain. Brain and CNS tumours are also the second most common cancers in children, accounting for about 26% of childhood cancers.
Brain tumour: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Causes and Symptoms
Environmental, lifestyle and genetic causes of brain tumours have received considerable attention over the past five decades. High-grade brain tumours, meningiomas, and schwannomas are more common during the 5th decade of life, and the incidence rises as per age. Some tumours such as pilocytic astrocytoma, low-grade glioma are more common in children.
Although most of the brain tumours are idiopathic in nature, about 5% of brain tumours may be linked to hereditary genetic conditions, like Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and von Hippel-Lindau disease.
Symptoms include headaches, seizures, personality changes, difficulty in thinking, speaking or articulating, paralysis, vision changes, dizziness, loss of hearing, facial numbness, nausea, and difficulties in swallowing.
Initially, MRI is conducted to detect brain tumours. Once MRI shows that there is a tumour in the brain, the most common way to determine the type of brain tumour is to analyze the results from a sample of tissue after a biopsy or surgery. Other imaging tests like computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are also recommended for brain imaging.
Brain tumour treatment
Most of the brain tumours are benign in nature and do not cause any harm during the normal course of a person's life. Some small brain tumours like meningioma can be an incidental finding on CT or MRI scans, and patients can live the normal course of their life without any intervention. The earlier the brain tumour is detected and operated upon, the better are the chances of survival. With the advancement in treatment modalities, it is possible to treat inoperable brain tumours. The thought that all brain tumours are fatal proves to be wrong in today's period, and the chances of survival look more positive with advanced treatment modalities. The outcomes of treatment depend extensively on the type of tumour (benign or malignant), grade (low or high grade), size, location, and performance status of the patient. The advanced treatments available for a brain tumour in India are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, minimally invasive brain tumour surgery as well as Radiosurgery.
(Inputs by- Dr. Shankar Vangipuram - HOD - Radiation Oncology - HCG Cancer Centre Mumbai )
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