World Brain Tumour Day 2023: Telltale signs of brain tumour people usually ignore
World Brain Tumour Day is observed on June 8 every year to raise awareness and educate people about brain tumours. Here are warning signs of the disease.
Brain tumour is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue in the brain but not all of them are malign or cancerous. Cancerous brain tumours are known to grow faster than non-cancerous ones. Brain tumours may or may not show symptoms depending on its location. If the tumour develops in lesser active parts of the brain, symptoms may not show up until the tumour grows very large. Brain tumours can either originate in or around brain tissue or they can spread to brain from other parts of the body which is also known as metastatic brain tumour. World Brain Tumour Day is observed on June 8 every year to raise awareness and educate people about brain tumours. (Also read: World Brain Tumour Day 2023: Date, history, significance and all you want to know)
The signs of brain tumour can be confused for other illnesses as they aren't very specific. People for example may overlook headaches caused by brain tumour and keep popping painkillers. Tumour itself doesn't cause these symptoms, but it may press against certain nerves in brain which could lead to these. People who have brain tumour can also have vision problems like double or blurred vision. Nausea or vomiting is another symptom people shouldn't ignore.
Since the brain controls the majority of bodily functions, brain tumours cause symptoms due to compression of surrounding vital structures as they grow in size. Symptoms of brain tumours may include, headache and vomiting (due increased pressure inside the cranial cavity), loss or blurring of vision (compression anywhere in the visual pathway), hearing loss (compression of surrounding auditory nerve), weakness of limbs (compression of surrounding motor pathway), difficulty in speech (compression of speech areas in brain) or swallowing (compression of lower cranial nerves) etc," says Dr Nitish Aggarwal, Consultant - Neuro Surgery, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad.
TELLTALE SIGNS OF BRAIN TUMOUR THAT PEOPLE IGNORE
"Often disguised by common ailments or overlooked as minor inconveniences, the telltale signs of a brain tumour demand expert attention. It is crucial to emphasize the importance of recognizing these subtle yet significant indicators," says Dr Vipul Gupta, Director-Neurointervention, stroke and Neurovascular Intervention at Artemis Hospital Gurugram, as he explains warning signs of brain tumour that people should not ignore.
1. Persistent headaches
Headaches that persist, intensify, or present with newfound patterns should never be taken lightly. While headaches are common, any alarming change in intensity, or association with other symptoms needs immediate medical evaluation.
2. Vision problems
Vision disturbances, such as blurred vision, double vision, or sudden visual field loss, may also point towards an underlying brain tumour. Ignoring such visual irregularities can have serious consequences on one's overall health and quality of life.
3. Nausea and vomiting
Persistent nausea, vomiting, or unexplained dizziness should also be watched out. These symptoms can stem from increased pressure within the brain caused by a tumour.
4. Unexplained seizures
Unexplained seizures, especially in individuals with no history of epilepsy, demand thorough investigation. Seizures can be an early warning sign of a brain tumour and should prompt medical attention without any delay.
BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES IN BRAIN TUMOUR
Dr Vivek Agrawal, Department of Neurosurgery, Sir HN reliance Foundation Hospital says the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour depend on the its size and location.
Dr Agarwal shares some common behavioural and sensory changes that are signs of brain tumour:
1. Headache or pressure in the head that is worse in the morning
2. Nausea or vomiting
3. Eye problems, such as blurry vision, seeing double or losing sight on the sides of your vision
4. Losing feeling or movement in an arm or a leg
5. Trouble with balance
6. Speech problems
7. Feeling very tired
8. Confusion in everyday matters
9. Memory problems
10. Having trouble following simple commands
11. Personality or behaviour changes
13. Hearing problems
15. Feeling very hungry and gaining weight
CAN BRAIN TUMOUR ALSO AFFECT REST OF THE BODY?
"Brain tumour is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue in the brain. Brain tumours can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). It is extremely rare for brain tumours (even the most malignant types) to metastasize (migrate) outside of the brain. Hence, in true sense brain tumours do not affect the rest of the body," says Dr Nitish Aggarwal.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF BRAIN TUMOURS
Patients with persistent or progressive symptoms should review with a neurologist or a neurosurgeon so that timely diagnosis can be made with the help of CT or MRI scans.
"Timely diagnosis of brain tumours is also important as the longer the symptoms, the longer the brain takes to recover function after treatment and in some cases the deficits can be permanent. Not all brain tumours need surgery. For patients who have small, benign tumours with minimal or no symptoms, the tumours can be simply observed with regular outpatient visits and MRI scans. Such patients are also good candidates for up-front Stereotactic radiosurgery (delivering focussed radiation to the tumour on an outpatient basis). Patients with malignant tumours or benign tumours which cause compression of surrounding structures, require surgery. Brain tumour surgery has seen a rapid evolution in methods. With the advent of technology (viz.intra-operative neuronavigation, advanced microscopes and instruments) this surgery has become very safe, minimally invasive and has good outcomes," says Dr Aggarwal.