Lahore  -   Symptoms of brain tumour generally includes headache, nausea, fatigue, seizures, difficulty in speaking and impaired eyesight, said Dr Irfan Yousaf, Consultant Neurosurgeon Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.

Taking to the media on World Brain Tumour Day, he said: “Specifically a pituitary tumour affects one’s hormones and eyesight. CT Scans and MRIs are used to diagnose brain tumour. There are no specific reasons for brain tumour development, but we can identify some risk elements such as certain inherited and sporadic genetic abnormalities and exposure to high levels of radiation.”

Dr Irfan said: “A tumour is an abnormal growth of tissue of any body part which escapes the control of body systems. Brain tumour can cause different adverse effects on human body depending on its types. Some tumours grow quickly whereas some take longer time to grow big, but in any case it should be treated properly. Gliomas which are the commonest brain tumours are categorised into four grades.”

He continued: “Tumours can arise from intrinsic brain tissue (primary brain tumour) or get implanted from a malignant tumour at another site (known as metastasis). A benign tumour is relatively less dangerous and once it is surgically removed there are very little chances of relapse. On the other hand, life expectancy of a brain tumor patient depends on the grade of the tumour. Structure of brain is very complex. It can only be handled by highly qualified and experienced doctors.”

Talking about the Neuro Oncology programme at SKMCH&RC, he said it is providing treatment of Brain Tumors according to international standards. In this group, experienced neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologist and cancer pathologists for cancer grading are included.

“The hospital has had IMRT capability for many years, and has now also introduced image-guided radiation therapy or IGRT, which is one of the latest methods of radiation therapy delivery, worldwide. Although treatment of brain tumor is quite expensive, but it is provided totally free of cost to the deserving patients at SKMCH&RC,” he added.

“Timely treatment of brain tumour is very important as chances of relapse increase with higher grade of tumour. To avoid any unpleasant situation cured patient should regularly undergo follow-up checkups.”

About the treatment procedures, Dr Irfan said: “The aim of treatment is to eradicate, reduce the size and control the growth of the tumour while preserving the brain function and quality of life. The pathological diagnosis is now established according to the international standard with advanced molecular and genetic markers allowing advanced planning of radiation and chemotherapy following surgery. Fortunately; stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is also available in Pakistan. Patients with a brain tumor less than 3 centimeters of size and  having physical condition not suitable for surgery can be offered treated with SRS.”

He urged people to be careful, saying “Negligence in treatment of diseases like brain tumour can be fatal. The only solution to avoid difficulties is proper and timely treatment. Fortunately in Pakistan we have modern treatment technologies allowing us to treat brain tumors with low risk and better outcome.”