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Brain tumour(glioma): Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About brain tumour(glioma)

Brain tumour results from abnormal growth of cells in the CNS (central nervous system) which includes the brain and the spinal cord. It may be of various types depending upon the cells it develops from. Glioma is one of the common brain tumours which originate from glial cells of brain. These glial cells surround nerve cells and are responsible for supporting them.

Brain tumour(glioma): Incidence, age and sex

Glioma is the most common type of brain tumour encountered in general population. They may be seen in any age group and more frequently in men.

Signs and symptoms of brain tumour(glioma): Diagnosis

Gliomas can be of three types namely ‘Astrocytoma’ which may develop anywhere in the brain or the spinal cord, ‘Ependyomas’ seen only in the brain and ‘Oligodendroglioma’ seen in the cerebral part of the brain. The clinical features of glioma are quite diverse and depend upon the part of the central nervous system involved. Any tumour in brain can lead to raised intracranial pressure which causes distressing symptoms like headache, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, the patient may also present with seizures which may be seen early in the course of the disease. Other features may include behavioural disturbances, weakness in the limbs, slurring of speech, loss of memory, blurring of vision, loss of coordinated gait or loss of sense of smell. Spinal cord involvement may result in back pain and weakness in the limbs. This tumour does not spread to other parts of the body. You need to consult a neurologist who will conduct a comprehensive neurological examination to assess the effects of the tumour. Other investigations like CT scan, MRI scan and biopsy will help detect the presence, location and spread of the tumour.

Causes and prevention of brain tumour(glioma)

The cause of development of glioma is not known. No risk factors or triggers have been documented to predispose to glioma. But it has been postulated that a genetic disorder by the name of ‘neurofibromatosis’ may increase the chances of glioma.

Brain tumour(glioma): Complications

Since glioma is a tumour of the brain which is responsible for functions of various parts of the body, its consequences may not be restricted to the brain but may affect the whole body. Features like loss of vision or impairment of the thought process and uncoordinated movements may be seen in some individuals. Relapses after treatment are frequently noted.

Brain tumour(glioma): Treatment

It is recommended to consult a neurologist and oncologist to discuss the effective management of glioma. The treatment modality constitutes radiotherapy and surgery. Chemotherapy does not play much role in its treatment since medications are unable to pass from blood to brain tissue due to an impermeable membrane called blood brain barrier between them. Glioma may be surgically removed if it is in an accessible position and this approach is combined with radiotherapy which helps in shrinking the tumour. Such brain surgeries are quite critical and pose some chances of risks.