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    All you need to know about Brain tumors and their treatment

    Brain tumors

    Brain tumors are difficult to treat, with the survival rate becoming stubbornly low if not detected in due time. They can be fatal, and can significantly hamper the quality of a person’s life. The condition can inflict all age groups and races of men and women. Therefore, that is why brain tumor research and treatment is one of our top priorities, say neurosurgeons at Hospital, one of the best hospitals in Eastern India.

    Brain tumor diagnosis and screening might take a mental as well as an emotion toll, but not all tumors are life-threatening. There are a number of questions that circle around brain tumors, and some of the most common are:

    How do I know if I have a brain tumor?

    A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in your brain. The tumors can range from being noncancerous or what professionals term as ‘benign’ to cancerous. The outgrowth is not only restricted to the brain but other parts of the body such as the spinal cord (known as the secondary, or metastatic brain tumors).

    Most brain tumors are diagnosed after the patient reports a sense of unsought weakness, numbness or sore and stiff muscles. Persisting headaches or any other changes can also be a symptom followed by short episodes of epilepsy in some cases.

    How quickly does a brain tumor develop?

    The growth of a brain tumor varies on the size, area affected, and the type of brain tumor (benign, malignant). Also, the growth of the tumor determines how intensely it would affect the working of your nervous system. It also has a tendency of continued growth which requires immediate treatment or removal.

    What are the implications of being diagnosed with a brain tumor?

    The brain is the epicenter of the functioning of your body and tumors can affect it substantially. There are three major areas of functioning affected by a tumor, such as - breathing (brain stem), muscle control and movement, sensory organs and cognitive abilities like memory, sight, emotions, etc. Doctor’s generally group brain tumors by grades such as - grade 1 (less severe) to grade IV (most severe). A higher grade would mean a more aggressive tumor.

    What are the symptoms of a brain tumor?

    • Sight and hearing inadequacies
    • Body balance problems
    • Changes in cognitive abilities (such as concentration, memory)
    • Seizures, short episodes of epilepsy
    • Nausea, weakness, and numbness
    • Facial paralysis
    • Severe headaches

    What all treatment options do I have?

    According to health experts at Hospital, there are various treatments available depending upon the severity of the brain tumor. The patient can be treated through surgery or focused radiation treatments which do require surgery. Chemotherapy is another approach to kill the tumor cells, however, it isn’t preferred as it kills the healthy brain cells. Minimally invasive, scarless surgery such as awake craniotomy is also an option, which requires great coordination between the patient and the doctor.  Hospital’s team of best neurologists offer specialized medical assistance while aiming patient’s optimal health and recovery.

    Observation

    Sometimes the best treatment is observation. For example, benign, slow-growing tumors that are small and have few symptoms may be observed with routine MRI scans every year until their growth or symptoms necessitate surgery. Observation may be the best option for people who are older or with other health conditions.

    Medication

    Medications are used to control some of the common side effects of brain tumors.

    Surgery

    Surgery is the treatment of choice for brain tumors that can be reached without causing major injury to vital parts of the brain. A neurosurgeon performs a craniotomy to open the skull and remove the tumor. Partial removal can still relieve symptoms. Radiation or chemotherapy may be used on the remaining tumor cells.

    Radiation

    Radiation therapy uses controlled high-energy rays to treat brain tumors. Radiation damages the DNA inside cells, making them unable to divide and grow. The benefits of radiation are not immediate but occur with time. Aggressive tumors, whose cells divide rapidly, tend to respond quickly to radiation.

    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy drugs work by disrupting cell division. Over time, chemotherapy causes the abnormal cells to die and the tumor may shrink. This treatment can also damage normal cells, but they can repair themselves better than abnormal cells, say neurosurgeons at one of the best hospitals in Eastern India.

    Recovery & prevention

    1. Self-care: The primary care doctor and oncologist should discuss any home care needs with you and your family. 
    2. Rehabilitation: Brain tumors develop in parts of the brain that control movement, speech, vision, and thinking, rehabilitation may be a necessary part of recovery. Although the brain can sometimes heal itself after the trauma of treatment, it will take time and patience. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy may be helpful to improve or correct lost functions.
    Since it is impossible to predict whether or when a particular tumor may recur, lifelong monitoring with MRI or CT scans is essential for people treated for a brain tumor, even a benign lesion. Follow-up scans may be performed every 3 to 6 months or annually, depending on the type of tumor you had.

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