brain tumor day

8th June is observed as World Brain Tumour Day since 2000 to raise awareness and educate people about the disease. This day was first observed by the German Brain Tumour Association since it had been very common in Germany as more than 8,000 people were suffering from this disease only in Germany.
According to a report published in 2018, a brain tumour was ranked as the 10th most common kind of tumour among Indians. The International Association of Cancer Registries reported that there are over 28,000 cases of brain tumours reported in India each year and more than 24, 000 people die due to it annually. So, today let’s know about it precisely so that we can raise awareness among people about this disease and educate them to cure it in every possible way.

What exactly a tumour is?

Mind you, a tumor is not necessarily a cancer but it can be cancerous. The word tumor simply refers to a mass. National Cancer Institution defines a tumor as an abnormal mass of tissue that forms when cells grow and divide more than they should or do not die when they should. There are two main types of tumors namely, malignant and benign tumors. The benign ones are not cancerous and cannot spread to other parts of the brain or body but the malignant tumors are cancerous; they grow uncontrollably and can spread to other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of a Brain Tumour?

Manifestations of a brain tumor may be nonspecific and include the following:
● Headache
● Altered mental status
● Nausea
● Vomiting
● Weakness
● Gait disturbance
● Focal seizures
● Visual changes
● Speech deficits
● Focal sensory abnormalities etc.
As most of the brain tumors initially present with very nonspecific complaints, early diagnosis by a neurosurgeon or neuro-physician helps plan further management in the initial stages of the disease. Diagnosis of a brain tumor doesn’t always mean a very poor outcome. A lot of CNS tumors are benign and can be cured completely and for life by complete surgical removal. Although outcome and survival rate mostly depends on the age of the patient, type of tumor and the extent of the surgical excision, and molecular characteristics of the tumor.

Types of treatments available-

▪ Surgery: This is the most common treatment for malignant brain tumors. The surgeon removes as many of the cancerous cells as possible without damaging healthy brain tissue.
▪ Radiation Therapy: In this type of treatment, radiation like X-rays or protons beams are used to kill tumor cells.
▪ Chemotherapy: Drugs are injected or taken orally and they target to kill the tumor cells. Side-effects of chemotherapy are hair loss, vomiting, nausea, and tiredness.
According to a report published in The Indian Express, a large section of Indian has no adequate knowledge about brain tumors. There is a misconception that every tumor will either kill or result in a coma with multiple problems, mental as well as physical. However, according to Dr. Ashish Shrivastav, a senior consultant and neurosurgeon, a large majority of brain tumors can be treated successfully and most patients resume their normal life. According to another study, the incidence of tumors in the central nervous system in India ranges from around five to ten cases per 1,00,000 population. Although it’s a severe disease, a piece of adequate knowledge and timely treatment can save many lives.