Why symptoms like slurring of speech, headaches, and walking difficulties mustn’t be ignored

Kashmir Scroll Webdesk
Kashmir Scroll Webdesk

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Every year, June 8 is observed as World Brain Tumour Day to raise awareness about the different types of tumours, and what can be done to prevent them. As such, experts share more about tumours among youngsters, from the symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

What are brain tumours?

Brain tumours are lumps or growths of abnormal cells that occur in the brain or nearby tissue and structures, said Dr Nitisha Goel, Associate consultant, Neurology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

There are many distinct types of brain tumours, some of which are benign (noncancerous) and others that are cancerous (malignant).

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Symptoms

According to Dr Goel, the indications and symptoms of brain tumour in a youngster vary greatly based on the kind, size, location, and rate of growth of the tumour. Certain signs and symptoms may be difficult to identify because they are similar to those of other illnesses.

Common symptoms include headaches that become more frequent and severe over time, feeling pressure in the head, headaches in the morning, those that increase on lying down, inexplicable nausea or vomiting, and vision problems that arise unexpectedly, such as double vision, shared Dr Goel.

Other indications and symptoms that may be present, depending on the location of the tumour, include seizures, particularly if there is no previous history of seizures, eye movement that is abnormal, slurring of the speech, walking difficulties, imbalance, weakness or drooping on one side of the face, changes in personality or conduct, memory changes or forgetfulness, explained the expert.

Dr Sandeep Vaishya, HOD & Executive Director, Neurosurgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram explained that a brain tumour by virtue of its volume will occupy space in the brain and when the tumour becomes sufficiently large, it will start exerting pressure on the brain tissue as the brain cannot expand, being enclosed in the skull.

“These are called raised pressure symptoms, which typically include headache and vomiting and sometimes double vision. If the growth is left unchecked it can lead to loss of consciousness and ultimately death of the patient,” Dr Vaishya noted.

In many tumours, the first symptom is an epileptic fit which can occur due to irritation of the brain by the tumour. “Every patient with a new onset epileptic fit should get a MRI of the brain done to rule out a tumour,” Dr Vaishya said.

Diagnosis

Some tumours are diagnosed incidentally when the MRI was done for some other purpose or as part of a routine checkup. Sometimes MRI is done for headaches and a small tumour is picked up. In these cases, its not the tumour which is the cause of headache but can be other reasons like migraine explained Dr Vaishya.

What to keep in mind?

Any headache which is persistent and associated with vomits or the above-mentioned symptoms should not be ignored and investigated further, he stressed.

Treatment

According to MayoClinic.org, treatment for a brain tumour depends on the type, size and location of the tumor, as well as your overall health and preferences. Surgery, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, etc are some of the ways in which such tumours can be treated.

Experts also call for post-treatment measures which include speech therapy among others.

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