CHENNAI: Diagnosing and managing brain pathology had always been a challenge, but we are well equipped to handle them now than any other time in recent history. We are fortunate to live in this era of technological advances, which combined with a much better understanding of the brain anatomy and function has revolutionised the field of neurosurgery. Complete cure in a good proportion of brain tumours is a reality and a good quality of life is possible in many of the high-grade lesions.
There is a need to create awareness about brain tumour symptomatology so that patients are diagnosed and treated at early stages. The symptoms often vary with the location and nature of the lesions. The parts of the brain are cerebrum (forebrain), cerebellum (hind brain), brainstem (midbrain, pons and medulla which continues down as spinal cord).
“One of the most common symptoms is headache. But, not all headaches need to investigated with imaging. Most of us get tension headaches once in a while as we exhaust ourselves through the day. The other subset is migraines, which are manageable with medication. But headaches that occur early in the morning with associated symptoms of nausea, vomiting, visual blurring, double vision, need to be investigated,” says Dr Arunkumar Karthikeyan, Associate Consultant, Neurosurgery, Kauvery Hospital.
Seizures or fits, especially when it occurs for the first time in adulthood warrants detailed evaluation. Progressive weakness of the limbs can be due to lesions in the brain or spine. Pathology in the cerebellum and brainstem can cause gait unsteadiness, double vision, sudden occurrence of strabismus (abnormal alignment of the eyes), he added.
Doctors say that blurring of vision, hormonal disturbances (abnormally increased frequency of urination especially during the night time), severe facial pain or weakness, hearing loss, persistent ringing noises in the ears, difficulty in swallowing, recent onset hoarseness of voice which persists for weeks, are some of the other symptoms which need a evaluation.