Why should symptoms like slurred speech, headaches, and difficulty walking not be ignored?

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Every year on June 8th, World Brain Tumour Day is commemorated to promote awareness about the various types of brain tumours and what can be done to prevent them. As a result, specialists are sharing more information regarding tumours in children, from symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

What are the symptoms of a brain tumour?

According to Dr. Nitisha Goel, Associate consultant, Neurology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, brain tumours are lumps or growths of abnormal cells that arise in the brain or adjacent tissue and structures.

Brain tumours come in a variety of forms, some of which are benign (noncancerous) and others which are cancerous (malignant).

Symptoms

According to Dr. Goel, the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour in a child vary widely depending on the tumor’s kind, size, location, and rate of growth. Because some signs and symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, they might be difficult to distinguish.

Headaches that become more frequent and severe over time, feeling pressure in the head, headaches in the morning, headaches that worsen when lying down, inexplicable nausea or vomiting, and vision problems that appear out of nowhere, such as double vision, are all common symptoms, according to Dr. Goel.

Seizures, especially if there is no previous history of seizures, abnormal eye movement, slurring of speech, walking difficulties, imbalance, weakness or drooping on one side of the face, changes in personality or conduct, memory changes or forgetfulness are among the other signs and symptoms that may be present, according to the expert.

Dr. Sandeep Vaishya, HOD & Executive Director, Neurosurgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, explained that a brain tumour will occupy space in the brain due to its size, and when the tumour grows large enough, it will begin to exert pressure on the brain tissue because the brain cannot expand because it is enclosed in the skull.

“These are known as increased pressure symptoms, and they include headaches, vomiting, and occasionally double vision.” If the tumour grows untreated, the patient may lose consciousness and eventually die, according to Dr. Vaishya.

The first symptom of many tumours is an epileptic fit, which can arise as a result of the tumour irritating the brain. “Every patient who has a new start epileptic fit should have a brain MRI to rule out a tumour,” Dr. Vaishya advised.

Diagnosis

Some tumours are discovered by chance when an MRI is performed for another reason or as part of a normal checkup. When an MRI is performed for headaches, it is sometimes discovered that a tiny tumour is present. In some circumstances, the cause of the headache is not the tumour, but other factors such as migraine, according to Dr. Vaishya.

What should you bear in mind?

He emphasised that any chronic headache that is accompanied by vomits or the above-mentioned symptoms should not be overlooked and should be explored further.

Treatment

Treatment for a brain tumour is determined by the type, size, and location of the tumour, as well as your overall health and preferences, according to MayoClinic.org. Such tumours can be treated in a variety of ways, including surgery, chemotherapy, targeted medication therapy, and so on.

Post-treatment procedures, such as speech therapy, are also recommended by experts.