In India alone, a report suggests that approximately 8-12 individuals out of every 1,00,000 are affected by brain cancer.
At Onsurity, we hold health matters in high regard and aim to shed light on this life-threatening medical condition. The word “cancer” can evoke a range of emotions, from anger and sadness to tension and mental exhaustion.
The diagnosis of cancer, regardless of its stage, not only impacts physical health but also takes an emotional toll. While regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent brain cancer, the unpredictable nature of life means that cancer can affect people of all ages and genders. Brain cancer occurs when cancerous cells grow in the brain, forming tumours that can either progress rapidly or slowly. Read on to learn about brain cancer, including its early signs, causes, and treatment options.
Understanding Brain Cancer
Brain cancer primarily refers to tumours that develop in the brain due to the overgrowth of cells. Unlike other cancers that begin in different parts of the body and then spread to the brain (known as metastasised or secondary cancer), brain cancer does not typically spread to other areas of the body. However, it can be life-threatening and significantly impact the functioning of the body.
Recognising early signs and symptoms
While headaches are a commonly experienced symptom of brain cancer, the early signs and symptoms may vary depending on the size and location of the tumour. Detecting brain cancer in its early stages can be challenging, as it often displays minimal symptoms. Some signs to watch out for include headaches, vomiting, lack of coordination, difficulty walking, memory lapses, impaired thinking, speech problems, personality changes, seizures, drowsiness, and tingling or numbness in the legs or arms. Early diagnosis greatly improves the prognosis of brain cancer. Therefore, regular check-ups are recommended to prevent the spread of cells and reduce the risk of brain cancer and other types of cancer.
Causes and risk factors
The exact cause of brain cancer remains unknown. However, various studies have shown that certain factors increase the risk of developing this type of cancer. These factors include a family history of cancer, long-term smoking, increased age, and working in professions involving exposure to lead, rubber, petroleum, and textiles. Additionally, exposure to herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and certain medical imaging tests such as CT scans and X-rays, as well as radiation therapy, can contribute to the risk of brain cancer.
Diagnosing brain tumour
If you experience any of the symptoms, a doctor may conduct several diagnostic tests. These may include a neurological examination to assess how cancer affects the brain, imaging tests such as MRI, CT scans, and PET scans to locate the tumour, a lumbar puncture to collect fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord for cancer cell analysis, and a brain biopsy to remove a portion of the tumour for diagnostic testing.
Treatment Options for Brain Cancer
Treatment for brain cancer depends on the size and location of the tumour. It may involve one or more of the following options:
- Surgery: The most common treatment approach involves the complete or partial removal of the tumour through surgery.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment employs orally or intravenously administered drugs to destroy cancer cells within the brain.
- Radiation Therapy: High-energy techniques, such as X-rays, are used to eliminate cancer cells and shrink tumours that cannot be surgically removed.
- Medications: Depending on the cancer stage, doctors may recommend specific medications to aid in the treatment of brain cancer.
- Rehabilitation: Brain cancer patients may require rehabilitation to regain lost abilities in walking, talking, and performing daily tasks affected by cancer.
Reducing the risk of brain tumour
While it is not possible to completely prevent the spread of brain cancer cells, certain measures can help reduce the risk. These include minimising exposure to insecticides and pesticides, avoiding radiation, refraining from smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Onsurity: Your partner in health
At Onsurity, our dedicated team of experts is here to support you. If you notice any of the symptoms or require assistance or further information regarding treatment options and the spread of brain cancer, feel free to reach out to us via the Onsurity app. We offer teleconsultations with our panel of doctors and provide the convenience of booking health tests to ensure a healthy future for you and your family.