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5 seemingly harmless factors that can lead to brain tumours

Published on:8 June 2021, 17:47pm IST
Many common signs can be your early indicators of diagnosing brain tumours. Read what a neurosurgeon has to say about these signs on World Brain Tumour Day.
Dr Anurag Saxena
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vitamin B for brain health
A neurosurgeon shares insights on common causes for brain tumours. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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A brain tumour is the abnormal growth of cells in the form of a mass in the brain. Brain tumours could be malignant, cancerous, benign or non-cancerous. Usually, malignant brain tumours grow quickly, while benign brain tumours grow slowly. This condition impairs brain function if they grow large enough to press on surrounding brain nerves or blood vessels. 

The most common benign tumours are meningioma, acoustic neuroma, and pituitary meningioma. Malignant brain tumours could also develop in the brain, such as glioblastoma. Then there are also secondary or metastatic brain tumours that spread through the brain after forming in different parts of the body, for example lung cancer is the most common cause of metastatic brain tumour

Causes of brain tumor

Mutation usually causes the brain to grow uncontrollably, leading to formation of tumors.  Genetic or hereditary tumours usually occur in childhood. Further, environmental factors such as radiations, X-Rays could also cause this condition.

Types of Brain Tumours

  • Benign tumour (Non- cancerous tumours)

These tumours occur in and around the brain and lead to compression of the brain structure. If taken out completely, the compression can be relieved. 

  • Malignant brain tumours (Cancerous)

These tumours have the tendency to spread around the brain and harm it completely. Malignant tumour is dangerous as compared to a benign tumour. 

World Brain Tumour Day
On World Brain Tumour Day, it’s time to pay attention to your brain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Common signs and symptoms 

Brain tumours produce certain clinical problems which can be categorised into issues such as location, size and type of tumour or tissue and how much tumour is present in the surrounding area. Most common symptoms are headaches, vomiting, nausea, seizures or fits, behavioural changes, paralysis, impairment of vision, speech and loss of balance. 

There are certain tumours which are present at the back of the head, eyes, skull or glands such as pituitary gland. Certain tumours which are located at the back part of your brain, called postiphosia can cause the brain to slow down and hamper the balance of the body, hand movements and cause hearing problems.

While sedentary lifestyle can often influence the development of the condition, it may not directly cause brain tumour. Bringing in positive changes in lifestyle will go a long way in staying healthy and preventing avoidable diseases. In most cases, the cause of brain tumour is unknown. However, some factors may increase the risk of developing brain tumour:

Things that can lead to brain tumour
1. Diet and exercise

It plays an important role in the functioning of the brain and the body. It is advised to follow a healthy and well balanced diet in order to avoid brain tumour. This includes green leafy vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Lack of exercise will lead to non- functioning of the brain, which can cause brain tumours. It is advisable to at least workout for about 30-45 minutes a day and indulge in a meditation routine to keep oneself active.

World Brain Tumour Day
A balanced diet has all the nutrition your mind needs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Sleep pattern

Ensure proper sleep pattern. A good sleep is as important as consuming medicine as it enhances brain function.

3. Behavioural or personality changes

A more subtle sign of a brain tumour can be a shift in a person’s behaviour or personality. Sometimes a tumour on the front part of the brain can lead to gradual changes in behaviour, personality and thinking.

4. Headaches

Little do we realise how headaches can be related to brain tumour until it gets worse over time. Ignoring recurring headaches can lead to a delay in diagnosing this condition, thereby aggravating one’s suffering and stalling adequate treatment.

World Brain Tumour Day
Don’t ignore headaches as they could be a sign. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Use of medications

It is advised by the doctors to use the right amount of medicines with the right doses. If you are prescribed steroids for a short period, you may experience increased appetite, weight gain, trouble sleeping, restlessness, mood swings, anxiety and, in rare cases, more serious changes to thinking and behaviour. In people with diabetes, steroids can quickly lead to high or unstable blood sugar levels. These short-term side effects can be managed. Eat before taking steroids to reduce the likelihood of the steroids irritating your stomach.

So, this World Brain Tumour Day, let’s be vigilant about any signs and symptoms of this condition and strive to lead healthier lives.

Dr Anurag Saxena Dr Anurag Saxena

Dr Anurag Saxena, HOD- Consultant, Neuro Surgeon, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, New Delhi