Advances in Brain Tumour Treatment

By Prof. (Dr). V.K.Jain in Neurosurgery

May 25 , 2023 | 2 min read

The diagnosis of a brain tumour can be a frightening and overwhelming experience for both patients and their families. However, it is important to understand that advancements in technology and medical interventions have significantly improved the prognosis and treatment outcomes for brain tumours.

In this blog, we will explore the progress made in brain tumour treatments and emphasise the importance of timely intervention.

Early Warning Signs

Recognising the early warning signs of a brain tumour is crucial for early diagnosis and effective treatment. Some common symptoms to look for include:

  • Frequent Headaches: Persistent headaches that worsen over time or are aggravated by coughing, sneezing, or bending down should not be ignored. 

  • Changes in Body Functions: Brain tumours can disrupt the normal functioning of organs. Symptoms may include hearing problems, stroke, decreased vision, double vision, facial deviation, difficulty swallowing, limb weakness, speech difficulties, memory problems, and forgetfulness. Any such symptoms should be promptly reported to a highly qualified doctor, preferably a neurosurgeon.

  • Abnormal Movements (Seizures): Uncontrolled movements of the limbs or body, accompanied by head and facial movements, can be indicative of a brain tumour. Loss of awareness or consciousness may also occur. Seeking immediate medical attention and evaluation by a neurosurgeon is advised in such cases.

  • Increased Body Weight: In some cases, brain tumours can affect the pituitary gland, leading to hormonal imbalances. Symptoms may include irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, lethargy, diabetes, mood swings, hypertension, and swelling in the hands and legs.

  • Weak Eyesight: Visual disturbances, particularly in one eye, can be a symptom of a brain tumour. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

When a brain tumour is suspected, diagnostic imaging such as a CT scan or MRI is conducted to confirm the diagnosis. It is important to note that the definitive diagnosis of benign or malignant tumours can only be determined through surgery and subsequent biopsy.

Treatment approaches vary depending on the nature and location of the tumour. Benign tumours typically have a favourable prognosis and can be completely removed through surgery, leading to a cure. Malignant tumours may require surgical removal followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. While the prognosis for highly malignant brain tumours remains challenging, advancements in surgical techniques, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy have resulted in improved outcomes for some patients.

The Importance of Hi-Tech Intervention

The field of neurosurgery has witnessed significant advancements in technology, enabling safer and more precise surgical interventions. These advancements include:

  • Advanced Imaging: Latest-generation MRI scans provide neurosurgeons with precise information about the tumour's location and its relation to functional areas of the brain. Functional MRI can help map nerve fibres, aiding in surgical planning.

  • Microscopic Surgery: Microscopes with magnification up to twenty times assist neurosurgeons in performing delicate brain surgeries. This technology allows for the precise preservation of nerves and brain function, akin to the work of a jeweller.

  • Navigation Techniques: Navigation systems help neurosurgeons precisely localise tumours during surgery, minimising damage to surrounding healthy brain tissue.

  • Improved Anesthesia and Equipment: Anesthesia drugs and equipment have significantly improved, ensuring safer surgical procedures.

With the availability of hi-tech interventions and advancements in neurosurgical techniques, brain tumour surgeries have become safer and more successful. It is important for individuals experiencing symptoms such as persistent headaches, changes in body functions, abnormal movements, increased body weight, or weak eyesight to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and timely intervention greatly improve the chances of successful treatment outcomes.