- 17 July 2019
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Common Brain Tumour Myths and Misconceptions
Brain tumour! Most people get terrified by this word. However, how do you know about this condition?
The tumour is a term that applies to a group of more than 200 conditions. This occurs when the cell mutates and begins to multiply uncontrollably without the normal mechanism of cell death. These malignant type of cells often spread to other parts of the body and damage the different organs and tissue there.
One of the most challenging and complex cancers are brain tumours, and that treatment needs a multidisciplinary team of specialists like an oncologist, radiotherapist. There are two main types of brain tumours, primary brain tumours originating from the brain and secondary brain tumours, also known as brain metastasis, which refers to tumours that have spread to the brain from their origin.
Myths and misconceptions about the spread of cancer made people stop from getting diagnosed and cannot get appropriate care. This can also contribute something you don’t even speak about and usually had a bad connotation about this disease.
Today, an oncologist from the Department of Neuro-Oncology at Sunshine Hospital Hyderabad, provided some of the most common myths and misconceptions about brain tumours, whether you are looking for information how tumour starts, what are the signs and symptoms and how to treat them.
Myths and Misconceptions
Myth1: Brain tumours are sporadic
Misconceptions: Brain tumours are not too rare, but are relatively infrequent. Only a few people can get appropriate health care facilities and can be treated. In the past, brain tumours were considered rare because of the lack of technology and equipment to diagnose and recognize them. However, now because of the CT and MRI, it is quite easy to find brain tumours.
The leading cause of death in children under the age of 20 is due to Brain tumours. They are the third most common cause of cancer deaths in young adults aged 20 to 39 years.
Myth2: All brain tumour patients have the same symptoms
Misconceptions: Not all patients with brain tumours have the same symptoms, although there may be some common symptoms; Brain tumours generally expand within the head, and that increases pressure in the skull, and head cannot get enlarged to provide sufficient space for a new growth of cells, as usually happens in other tumours elsewhere in the body. Therefore, the symptoms are headache, dizziness, and vomiting. Different types of symptoms that depend on the location of the tumour include seizures, weakness, vision or hearing loss, speech, and balance disorders.
Everyone who is diagnosed with a brain tumour has different symptoms and has a different method of diagnosis. While some people may not develop symptoms that indicate a tumour, others may have symptoms that worsen over time and eventually lead to a diagnosis. While others may still feel comfortable, they suddenly experience symptoms such as seizures, leading to rapid and unexpected tumour diagnosis.
Myth 3: If someone in my family has a brain tumour, may I get it too?
Misconceptions: Certainly not. Mutations in genes cause a tumour. Mutations inherited from parents cause only about 5 to 10% of tumours. In families with inherited cancer-causing mutations, many family members often experience the same type of cancer, and these types of cancers are known as “Familial” or “Hereditary” cancers.
Some may think If no one in the family has cancer, then we have no risk of the tumour but no the remaining 90 to 95% of cancer is caused by mutations that occur during a person’s life as a natural consequence of ageing and exposure to environmental factors such as tobacco smoke and radiation. Other factors, such as the type of food you eat, and exercise, can also be a risk for developing cancer. The type of cancer is known as “Spontaneous” cancers or “Non-hereditary.”
Myth 4: Changing lifestyles can help prevent brain tumours
Misconceptions: Lifestyle changes cannot prevent brain tumours, but they are good for other types of health problems and are good for the health and well-being of the individual as a whole. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and avoiding some toxic foods are good for your health.
Myth 5: Radiation from cellphones can cause brain tumours
Misconceptions: Excessive radiation exposure is known to cause tumours, including brain tumours such as X-rays, ionizing radiation and nuclear radiation, etc. Cell Phones emit radiofrequency energy absorbed by our tissues but do not harm our DNA. The only effect is a slight increase in body temperature. So far, there is no conclusive evidence to justify this concept that brain tumours are caused by cell phones. Mutations that can occur at birth or during a person’s lifetime are only proven risk factor for brain tumours.
Myth 6: All brain tumours are the same.
Misconceptions: All brain tumour is NOT the same because there over 120 types of brain tumours. Moreover, the types of brain tumours are characterized based on the size, location, cell of origin, and grade of tumours.
Myth 7: Radiation therapy for brain tumour treatment will kill you
Misconceptions: Radiation therapy can be physically and mentally exhausting, but this is a life-saving treatment. Radiation therapy is optimized to provide maximum benefits to treat, and it causes the least harm to the patients. Some side effects are expected, but not life-threatening. If you have concerns or doubts about the treatment, you should talk to the doctor before avoiding the treatment because avoiding treatment is a matter of life and death.
Myth 8: Once being treated, brain tumours don’t develop anymore
Misconceptions: This is not true, but, for some patients, there is a day where active treatment is complete. That day can bring a lot of relief, happiness, fear, but also uncertainty. Ending treatment will not be the end of the experience of having a brain tumour. When benign tumours are removed surgically, they rarely recur, except for some cases where they can occur after 10 to 15 years. However, after surgery, routine follow-up care to the surgeon is needed to rule out recurrences of brain tumours.
Early diagnosis and rapid treatment provide better results. Thanks to advances in diagnosis and treatment, even the most malignant brain tumour patients can survive and live for years without suffering from tumour signs that are good news for all.
Myth 9: Is the brain tumour is contagious?
Misconceptions: In general, no. the tumour is not an infectious disease that spreads quickly from person to person. The only situation where a tumour can spread from one person to another is an organ or tissue transplant case. A person who receives an organ or tissue from a donor who has had a tumour in the past may be at a higher risk of transplant-related tumour in the future. However, the risk is low because doctors avoid using organs or tissues from donors with a tumour in history.
Myth 10: If doctors suspect that someone has a tumour in the brain. That means that they have brain cancer.
Misconceptions: Not all brain tumours are cancerous. Some tumours are benign, which means they do not spread to other organs or damage surrounding cells or tissues, whereas others can be cancerous in nature.
There are many misconceptions that it is sometimes challenging to understand facts about Brain tumour! If you think that you have any of the symptoms related to brain tumour don’t neglect, get the facts from a reliable source: Plan a consultation today with our Neurosurgeon at Sunshine Hospital Hyderabad contact us at 04044550000.
About The Doctor:
Dr Naveen is an expert in treating patients with a brain tumour. He is one of the best neurosurgeons in Hyderabad and is sought after for some of the most delicate and complicated brain surgeries.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.