Brain Tumors can be defined as cancerous growths found in the brain. They can be big in size or deep seated, popularly known as low grade gliomas. The complications associated with brain tumors can be many as any cancer growth can disturb the sensitive balance and functioning of the nerves in the brain , causing headaches, blindness, facial paralysis, motor disease, etc. However the most important aspect is that brain tumors can be treated and on numerous occasions multi modalities are used to do the same – surgical & radiation. Below are few of the common myths associated with Brain Tumors:
Myth1- Brain Tumors are very rare
Fact – In India, approximately 50,000 persons are diagnosed with brain tumors every year. Among these, there are 20 per cent children. According to Brain Tumor Foundation of India, this is the second most common cancer among children after leukaemia.
Radiological imaging like CT scan and MRI which are easily available at various centres now a days, made it possible to detect brain tumors.
Myth 2 – Lifestyle modification can prevent Brain Tumors
Fact – An Individual’s lifestyle does not have impact to cause brain tumors. Hence, its modifications cannot prevent brain tumors. However, there is no doubt that they are good for an overall health of an individual. Daily exercise, balanced diet including high fibre content and avoidance of smoking, tobacco chewing and alcohol consumption are good for health.The exact cause of brain tumors is still unknown.
Myth3 – All Brain Tumor patients have the same symptoms and signs
Fact – No. This is not true always. The symptoms and signs related to brain tumors depend mainly on the location and extent of the tumor inside the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. More commonly, the symptoms include headache, giddiness, nausea and vomiting. The other symptoms that depend on the location of the tumor which include seizures either generalised or focal, weakness of either one, two or sometimes all four limb, loss of vision or hearing, difficulty in speech, loss of balance and gait disturbances etc.
Myth 4 – Radiations from mobile phones can cause Brain Tumors
Fact – Excessive radiation exposure like high energy X-rays, other ionizing radiations, atomic radiations , can induce brain tumors. As far as radiation from cell phones is concerned, there has been a long discussion that the amount of radiation leakage by cell phones may cause brain tumors and so many other health problems also. Till date, there is no clearcut strong conclusive evidence available about the same. But this is always advisable to keep the instrument away as much as you can owing to ALARA principle as guided by Atomic energy research board (AERB). ALARA ( as low as reasonably achievable) principle is universally followed while handling any radiation related equipments or substances.
Myth 5 – Young people don’t get Brain Tumors
Fact – Not true. Brain tumors can develop at any age. Some types of brain tumor like Craniopharyngioma, Germinoma, Acoustic Neuromas etc. are more common in younger adults. Children can also develop brain tumors like medulloblastoma, ependymoma, etc. Brain Tumous like Menigiomas are more common in women aged between 30-50 years. Most lethal malignant brain tumors like Glioblastoma mutiformae can occur in adolescenets and at an old age. It is evident that age is not a crirteria for developing the brain tumors.