Yesterday while scrolling through some news channels on my phone, I stumbled upon a particular piece of news that literally shocked me. It was about Roxli, an 11-year old girl from Texas diagnosed six months back with a very rare form of brain tumour called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) that was inoperable. The doctors were administering radiation therapy to shrink the size of the tumour. And then an MRI scan recently showed that a brain tumour has completely vanished. The doctors taking care of her were shocked and they say that it is unusual and unbelievable. Her parents believed that it is nothing less than a miracle sent by God. And now she would be monitored and given precautionary treatment.
Let us know more about brain tumour and learn if you are at risk.
What is brain tumour?
Brain tumour is a mass of abnormal cell growth in the brain. Contrary to the belief, all brain tumors are not cancerous. Some are benign (non-cancerous) while others are malignant (cancerous). Some brain tumours originate in the brain and are called as primary brain tumour while others are called metastatic or secondary brain tumour as cancer can begin in one part of the body and metastasize in the brain. The benign tumours rea not usually aggressive and don’t spread to the surrounding tissue. However, these tumours can be serious and life-threatening too.
Symptoms of brain tumour:
The brain is a large organ and depending on which part of the brain the tumour has grown, the signs and symptoms vary. The growth rate of the tumour also determines whether the symptoms will grow gradually or quickly.
Headaches are one of the most common symptom but not the only symptom. But you need not worry if you have a headache because most headaches are not due to brain tumour. There are many reasons for a headache.
In the case of brain tumour, the headache might be accompanied by other uncomfortable signs and symptoms too like:
- Change in vision, hearing, and speech
- Co-ordination problems
- Difficulty in walking
- Tingling sensation or numbness in the arms and legs
- Low memory and concentration level
- Weakness in one part of the body
While these are some symptoms of brain tumour remember that these symptoms do not solely contribute to brain tumour. It might be due to other physical conditions too.
Who are at risk of brain tumour?
The cause of brain tumour is usually unknown but there are many risk factors that increase the chance of developing a brain tumour
Age: People of any age can develop brain tumour but is especially common in children and older adults.
Gender: In general, more men develop brain tumour than women.
Family history: 5% of all the brain tumours caused might be due to genetic factors.
Head injury and seizures: Some brain tumours might also be caused due to serious head trauma. Besides if you have been having seizures for a very long time, it increases the risk of a brain tumour.
Ionizing radiation: If you must go for a radiation therapy aimed at the head, the high dose x-ray from ionizing radiation might lead to a tumour.
Researches are done to understand if using cell phones or being exposed to magnetic fields at work are also possible risk factors of a brain tumour. Nothing is deduced as of yet, but additional research needs to be done.