Brain tumor basically is a mass or growth of abnormal cells located within or around the brain. There are many types of brain tumors including both cancerous & noncancerous. While some brain tumors are primary brain tumors that have originated in brain cells, there are others which are secondary brain tumors & have spread to the brain from some other part of the body. Growth & spread of brain tumors greatly vary. Moreover, it is the location & growth rate of the brain tumor which usually determines the way it will affect the functioning of the nervous system. Brain tumor treatment options however depend upon the type, size & location of brain tumor.
Risk Factors Associated with Brain Tumors
Cause of brain tumor is usually not known in most people with primary brain tumors. However, neurologists have identified some factors which can increase risk of developing a brain tumor. Some of these risk factors for brain tumors include the following.
Age – Risk of developing a brain tumor is found to be directly proportional to increase in age of the patient. Brain tumors are most common among older adults although they can occur at any age. Moreover, certain types of brain tumors are found to occur almost exclusively in children.
Exposure to Radiation – People who have been exposed to a specific type of radiation known as ionizing radiation have increased risk of developing brain tumors. Ionizing radiation examples include radiation therapy which is used in treatment of cancers & exposure to radiation caused from atomic bombs. Other common types of radiation like electromagnetic fields of power lines & radiofrequency radiation emitted from cell-phones & microwave ovens are still not linked to be the cause of developing brain tumors.
Family History of Brain Tumors – Small proportion of brain tumors are found to occur among people having a family history of brain tumors or among families with genetic syndromes increasing risk of developing brain tumors.
Diagnosing Brain Tumors
When doctors suspect that a patient is having a brain tumor, they may recommend a number of tests & procedures for diagnosing including brain tumor MRI.
Neurological Examination – Among others, neurological examinations may include checking vision, hearing, reflexes, strength, coordination & balance. Difficulty in any of these areas may be able to provide clues about the part of the brain which may be affected by brain tumor.
Imaging Tests – MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is commonly utilized for diagnosing brain tumors. Contrast dye may be injected in some cases through a vein in arm during MRI procedure. Number of other specialized MRI scan components like magnetic resonance spectroscopy, perfusion MRI & functional MRI may also be helpful to doctors in evaluating the brain tumor & developing a treatment plan. Other imaging tests which are employed for diagnosing brain tumors may include computerized tomography (CT) scans & positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
Tests for Finding Cancer in Other Parts of the Body – These tests are usually performed when it is suspected that the brain tumor is resulting from cancer which has spread from some other area of the patient’s body. In such a case doctors may recommend tests & procedures in order to determine as to where this cancer may have originated. Like for example CT scan of the chest may be taken in order to look for signs of lung cancer.
Biopsy – Biopsy is normally performed as part of surgery for removal of brain tumor. In some cases biopsy is also performed with help of a needle. Stereotactic needle biopsy is generally performed for brain tumors which are hard to reach or when brain tumors are located in very sensitive areas of brain which might get damaged by more extensive operations. The neurosurgeon in such instances will drill a small hole into skull for inserting a thin needle through this aperture. Brain tumor tissue is subsequently removed with help of a needle that is typically guided by MRI or CT scanning. After this, the biopsy sample is viewed under a microscope in a laboratory so as to determine if it is cancerous or noncancerous. Information thus obtained is critical in establishing diagnosis & prognosis & most importantly for developing a treatment plan.
Affordable Brain Tumor Treatments in India
Brain tumor treatment cost in India is a pleasant surprise for international patients who are worried about the rising prices of healthcare within their homeland. It is not just the price factor but the quality of medical procedures including brain tumor treatment in India is at par with the best in the world. It would therefore be a sensible option for overseas patients to undergo excellent quality of medical treatments in India at affordable costs.