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Frequent headaches, sudden vision issues and other signs that people should never ignore

We all are living a fast paced stressful life. As a result, we often put aside symptoms like headaches, eyesight issues, blaming them on our lifestyle. But this simple oversight can have a dangerous outcome. This can be a sign of brain tumor where brain cells multiple abnormally, where it can be cancerous or non cancerous. Its location in the brain decides the seriousness of the tumour. While brain tumor is not a very common cancer but it’s important to know the warning signs to ensure faster diagnosis and treatment.

According to Dr Naveen MA, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon (Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery), BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, “The skull does not have excess room for anything other than the brain. Therefore, as brain tumors develop and expand, they cause extra pressure in this closed space. This is called intracranial pressure. Increased intracranial pressure is caused by extra tissue in the brain as well as blockage of the cerebrospinal fluid flow pathways.”

Here are some of the more common symptoms of brain tumor

Seizures


Seizures are normally associated with epilepsy but it could also be a sign of brain tumour. In fact, as per doctors, up to 60% of brain tumor patients experienced seizures. This is combined with nausea, vomiting. If you experience them, it’s best to get it checked by a doctor.

Frequent morning headaches


Headaches can be the most confusing symptom since it can have multiple reasons but if you have headaches that are worse than frequent and no remedy seems to relieve you of the pain, it’s time to consult a doctor.

Change in vision


Sudden change in your eyesight could also be an indicator of brain tumour. If you suddenly see things blurry or have issues with your peripheral vision which allows you to see things around you without turning your head, maybe you should visit a doctor.

Slurred speech


Occasional brain fog may be normal where you tend to feel lost or lose track of what you were doing. But if you experience sudden difficulty in reading, writing, or your speech becomes slurred, it may be a symptom of brain tumour.

Change in personality


Staying unfocused or suddenly getting aggressive are rare signs of brain tumour. You may experience fuzziness or sudden personality changes.

Brain tumor in children


Dr Naveen adds, “Brain tumors are the most common solid tumors affecting children and adolescents, with close to 3 lakh children diagnosed each year. Because of their location, some pediatric brain tumors and their required treatments can cause significant long-term impairment to intellectual and neurological function.”

Astrocytoma is the most common type of glioma, accounting for about half of all childhood brain tumors. They are most common in children between the ages of 5 and 8. The grade of an astrocytoma is important. The child’s treatment will be based on whether the tumor is slow growing (low-grade, grade 1 or 2) or fast-growing (high-grade, grade 3 or 4). Most astrocytomas in children (80 percent) are low-grade. Sometimes they begin in the spine or spread there. Brain stem gliomas can be very challenging to treat. Most of these tumors are in the middle of the brainstem and cannot be surgically removed. A few brainstem tumors are more favorably located and can be treated with surgery. These are often treated with non-surgical methods. Choroid plexus tumors are found in the choroid plexus — the part of the brain within the spaces in the brain, called ventricles, that makes cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds and cushions the brain and the spinal cord, he adds.

Doctors don’t yet know why certain kids develop a brain tumor. They are rarely a result of exposure to radiation, or from a family history of cancer. Here are some FAQs

  1. What are the more common tumors in kids?
    Medulloblastomas are malignant brain tumors that account for about 15 percent of brain tumors in children. Medulloblastomas form in the cerebellum and occur primarily in children between the ages of 4 and 9, affecting boys more frequently than girls. Medulloblastomas can spread (metastasize) along the spinal cord. They typically require surgery plus other treatments. Optic nerve gliomas: These tumors are found in or around the optic nerves — those that send messages from the eyes to the brain. They can cause vision loss and hormone problems because of their frequent location near the base of the brain. These are typically difficult to treat due to the surrounding sensitive brain structures. Craniopharyngiomas are benign tumors that occur near the pituitary gland
  2. What are the symptoms of brain tumor in kids?
    If your child experiences morning headaches with nausea and vomiting, it is a red flag. This is partly because pressure in the brain increases when you’re lying down, and a tumor can make that worse. Another sign is when the child is acting lethargic, or extra sleepy, for no apparent reason, call your doctor for guidance on whether further evaluation may be necessary. Depending on a brain tumor’s location, it can affect vision, hearing and speech. Of course, many children have challenges in these areas that have nothing to do with a brain tumour. Still, sudden changes in how your child sees, hears or talks should be evaluated by a medical professional. If your child’s mood swings or personality changes seem sudden or severe, tell your child’s pediatrician. Macroencephaly (enlarged head) in infants whose skull bones are not completely fused is another symptom. If you notice a bulging on one side or any other severe changes to your baby’s head shape, your doctor can help you decide whether it requires further evaluation. Brain tissue dysfunction caused by a growing tumor may cause other symptoms, depending on the tumor’s location. For example, if a brain tumor is in the cerebellum at the back of the head, a child may have trouble with movement, walking, balance and coordination. If the tumor affects the optic pathway, which is responsible for sight, the child may experience vision changes.

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