A brain tumor develops when an abnormal growth of cells within the brain occurs. The cells involved in the growth of brain tumors are glial cells of lymphatic tissues, nerves, and meninges.
Benign types of brain tumors have slow growth, but the worst side is they can compress adjoining parts of the brain. On the other hand, malignant tumors grow rapidly. Moreover, they spread to the adjacent part of the brain.
Brain tumors are categorized based on the nature of cell growth. The low-grade tumors include Grade I and II tumors. Grade III and IV are categorized as high-grade tumors. Better treatment is available in the case of low-grade or benign tumors.
Common Brain Tumors:
Common brain tumors found in children are:
- Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma
- Brain Stem Glioma
- Germ cell tumors
Common brain tumors found in adults are:
- vestibular schwannoma
What are the Common Symptoms of Brain Tumors?
Some of the common symptoms of brain tumors are:
- Headaches, usually in the morning
- Convulsions or seizures
- Weakness in Limbs
- Loss of balance while walking
- Altered Speech or Vision
- Altered Behavior
- Loss of Orientation
- Memory Lapses
How to Diagnose Brain Tumors?
The common diagnosis procedure of brain tumors includes a CT scan or MRI scan of the brain. Further investigation involves Biopsy where a piece of the tumor is taken for examination through open surgery.
The other method is stereotactic fashion. In this method, a rigid frame is used to fix the skull and locate the tumor with the help of a CT scan or MRI.
What is the Treatment Available in India for Brain Tumors?
The common brain tumor treatment involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of all the three is used. The appropriate treatment depends upon the factors like age of the patient, tumor type, location, size, and grade.
Surgery: Surgery is done for two reasons, the first is to remove the tumor, and the second is to take cells of the tumor for a biopsy.
Radiation therapy: The high-energy X-rays, gamma rays or protons of radiation kills tumor cells. It is usually applied over 5-6 weeks after surgery.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells in high-grade tumors. It is either given orally or injected through veins. Chemotherapy is given simultaneously with radiation therapy. It is also used if there are repetitive brain tumors after failure of initial treatment.
What are the Advanced Radiation Therapies For Brain Tumors?
3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT) and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): CT scans and MRI are used to outline the tumor, then radiation planning is done by using the computer. Only the tumor and the surrounding high-risk region are aimed for radiation. The normal structures in the brain are carefully kept out of radiation.
Stereotactic Radio-surgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT): In this method, a high dose of radiation is given to the tumor and a minimal dose to the rest of the acute brain structures. An explicit image guidance system is used to apply this radiation to treat particular brain tumors.
Stereotactic radiotherapy is advantageous in children. This therapy delivers high-dose of radiation in a single or a few sessions. Adults with tumors such as metastatic residual glioma, meningioma, and schwannoma are also given stereotactic radiotherapy.
The devices used to deliver such high-precision radiation are Novalis-Tx and Cyberknife.
High-definition Rapidarc: It is the most advanced radiation planning technology. In this method, radiation is given constantly. The machine head and its small components are moved simultaneously around the patient’s head. And infinite small radiation beams target the tumor.
This process of radiation treatment is highly precise and fast. It is ideal for children and elderly patients who cannot lie on treatment beds for a long period.
What is the cost of brain tumor treatment in India?
It depends on the factors like location, hospital, and patient’s condition. However, on average, brain tumor treatment cost in India ranges from 2,50,000 to 7,50,000.