World Brain Tumor Day

‘Early diagnosis and latest technology is vital to treat brain tumor.’ – Dr. Irfan Yousaf (Consultant Surgical Oncologist, SKMCH&RC, Lahore)

World Brain Tumor Day is observed on June 8 each year across the globe. It is meant to raise awareness about this atypical sort of tumor which stands as the 10th most common type of tumor and people know very little about it.

Brain tumor can cause various adverse effects on human body depending on its types. Some brain tumors grow quickly, whereas some take a longer time span to grow big. Brain tumors are categorized into four grades and life expectancy of a brain tumor patient depends on the grade of malignant tumor. Doctors recommend biopsy procedure, if a person is diagnosed with brain tumor. While treating a patient with brain tumor, it is very important to diagnose if the tumor is developed within brain or comes from any other part of the body. A benign tumor is relatively less dangerous and once it is surgically removed there are very little chances of relapse. However; chances of relapsing increases with the grade of tumor so it is vital to get treatment at early stage.

Brain tumors can present with headache, fatigue, nausea, seizures, difficulty in speaking and problem with vision, specifically a pituitary tumor affects one’s hormones and eye-sight. CT Scans and MRIs are used to diagnose Brain Tumor. Although, causes of brain tumor are not exactly known, however; there is increased risk in certain rare genetic syndromes and exposure to radiation.

Under Combined Group Neuro Oncology program, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital is providing international standard treatment facilities of brain tumor. In this group, experienced neuro surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologist and cancer pathologists for cancer grading are included.

Most importantly, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is now available at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore, which is indeed a very significant advancement in treatment of brain tumors. This is an advanced treatment through sophisticated computer guidance to deliver a highly targeted and high dose of radiation that conforms to the shape and size of a tumor, with fewer side effects. For some patients, this single-day, high-dose treatment can replace the daily delivery of lower doses of radiation over a course of therapy that can last up to six weeks. Most patients tolerate the treatment very well, and because it’s typically done in one day, it causes very little or no interruption in the delivery of other treatments such as chemotherapy. In addition, many patients can resume their normal activities the day after treatment. Awaiting patients for stereotactic radiosurgery include the patients with the disease not surgically accessible or is too advanced for neurosurgery, as well as those who cannot tolerate anesthesia. Despite being an expensive type of treatment, all state-of-the-art treatment facilities for brain tumor are provided free of cost to the deserving patients at SKMCH&RC.

Structure of brain is very complex. It can only be handled by highly qualified and experienced doctors. Negligence in treatment of diseases like brain tumor can be fatal and the only solution to avoid complications is proper and timely treatment from a recognized institute. Fortunately in Pakistan we have most modern treatment technologies with low risks and better outcomes. To avoid any unpleasant situation cured patient should also regularly undergo follow-up checkups.

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