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Brain Tumors Treatment in India

What is a Brain Tumor ?

Brain tumors develop when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain. This rare condition can be seen in both adults and children. Brain tumors can be categorized as cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign). Cancerous (malignant) tumors are more aggressive and bigger cause for concern than non-cancerous (benign) tumors. There are approximately 140 types of brain tumors that can develop in the brain which fall under two broad categories, metastatic and primary. Primary tumors develop in the brain and do not spread outside. Unlike primary tumors, metastatic or secondary tumors develop in other body parts and spread to the brain through lymphatic or blood tissue.  Kidney cancer, lung cancer, melanoma and breast cancer are types of metastatic tumors that can spread to the brain.

What Causes Brain Tumors ?

While there is no proven cause for brain tumors, here are some harmful indicators-

  • A family history of genetic disorders such as tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis and Hippel-Lindau disease.
  • People who have a compromised immune system
  • Exposure to radiation
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Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Headaches are considered as the most common symptoms of a brain tumor. Other symptoms include –

  • Problems with memory
  • Seizures
  • Weakness in one part of the body
  • Problems while walking
  • Changes in hearing and speech
  • Tingling or numbness in arms and legs
  • Personality changes
  • Balance problems
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Changes in vision

Brain Tumor Surgery

Brain tumors develop when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain. This rare condition can be seen in both adults and children. Brain tumors can be categorized as cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign). Cancerous (malignant) tumors are more aggressive and bigger cause for concern than non-cancerous (benign) tumors. There are approximately 140 types of brain tumors that can develop in the brain which fall under two broad categories, metastatic and primary. Primary tumors develop in the brain and do not spread outside. Unlike primary tumors, metastatic or secondary tumors develop in other body parts and spread to the brain through lymphatic or blood tissue.  Kidney cancer, lung cancer, melanoma and breast cancer are types of metastatic tumors that can spread to the brain.


Treatment for Brain Tumor

Brain tumors are diagnosed using MRIs or CT scans. The treatment options available include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery to remove the tumor. Treatment varies on basis of –

  • Location of brain tumor
  • General health and age of a patient
  • Size of brain tumor
  • Grade and type of brain tumor

Proton therapy is considered as one of the best treatment options for brain tumors. Proton therapy has minimal side effects as compared to traditional radiation therapy and helps prevent long term complications. Proton therapy uses higher doses of radiation for focused targeting of the tumor, which causes less damage to the surrounding tissue. The success rate of proton therapy is very high.

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)

GBM is considered to be the most common and most serious type of malignant brain tumor. Glioblastoma multiforme develops majorly in cerebral hemispheres but can also spread to the spinal cord, brainstem and brain. Some commonly associated characteristics –

  • GBM is less common in children
  • GBM can be composed of different types of cells
  • GBM causes are still unknown
  • GBM is commonly seen in older individuals and more frequently in men than women
  • GBM can evolve from a lower grade Oligodendroglioma or astrocytoma
  • GBM can also develop by itself

Surgery is the only treatment for GBM and can be combined with radiation therapy for better results. Radiation therapy is used after the surgery in order to destroy leftover tumor cells and prevent their recurrence.

Recovery After Brain Tumor Surgery

Patients are recommended speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The aim of the therapies is to speed up recovery process and help the patient return to their daily life as soon as possible.

Success and Survival Rate for Brain Tumors

Multiple factors such as size, location and type of tumor determine the rate of survival for a brain tumor operation. Survival rate is determined in terms of percentage of people who survive for 5 years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. The survival rate is around 16% for people between the ages of 45-64, 65% for children and 55% for those between the ages of 15-45.