June 15, 2022
June 8th was World Brain Tumour Day, an event established to raise awareness of brain tumours, dispel misunderstandings, help people spot the signs that indicate they need to seek a scan and highlight the array of treatments that are available.
For this reason, a plethora of articles has been published on the topic to increase understanding and help generate better health outcomes, not least among those who might not otherwise have spotted early signs that something is amiss.
Indian news provider the Economic Times, for example, published a series of tips on what to look out for, with these ranging from milder and less unusual symptoms like headaches to more specific problems like seizures, changes in personality, clumsiness and cognitive impairment.
In the past, developing a brain tumour would normally have been a death sentence. But that is anything but the case now. For one thing, many tumours are benign and non-cancerous; treatments for them will prevent excess pressure building on the brain, which will then ensure they are no longer dangerous.
Cancerous tumours are another matter, of course. They can be the result of specific brain cancer, or another form of cancer spreading across the body including the brain. Either will be deadly unless successfully treated and often once it is very advanced there is often little or nothing that can be done, as is so often the case with cancer. That’s why early diagnosis matters.
As Healthshot notes, the good news is that if a cancerous tumour is detected, the chances of survival are now far greater than they used to be. It stated: “The days of mutilating and incapacitating surgeries are long gone, and modern neurosurgery is really rather safe and successful,” adding that Gamma Knife Surgery is now a key tool in the “modern day” arsenal available to neurosurgeons.
It added: “The post-surgery outcomes have also been revolutionised by radiosurgery. The mortality and morbidity rates have decreased significantly, and we now add life to years rather than just years to life.”
Knowing this can make a crucial difference in more ways than one. The most obvious is that gamma knife treatment offers the hope of a life-changing operation that leaves no scars, no rehabilitation period and potentially a complete recovery.
Secondly, there is the behavioural implication of this. Fir some who might suspect there is a problem, there will be a reluctance to get checked out for fear of what the diagnosis might be. This fear is bound to be greater for any condition that is either incurable or for which the treatment can be arduous and traumatic.
Therefore, knowing that a treatment can be both effective and not come with a lot of side-effects and pain may help some people go forward and get themselves examined if they start to show possible symptoms.
With the medical world both knowing more than ever about brain tumours and the treatments available being more effective and now non-invasive, there is far more hope for patients than there ever was – something that warrants lots of awareness on the other 364 days of the year too.