A brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain that can be classified as:
Headaches are often the first symptom of a brain tumour. The headaches can be mild, severe, persistent or come and go. Other symptoms include:
Please make an appointment to see your GP if you have persistent symptoms that concern you.
Tumours of the brain affect people of all ages. Some factors that can increase your risk of brain cancer include:
Primary brain tumours originate in the brain or surrounding tissues, such as the membranes that cover the brain (meninges), cranial nerves, pituitary gland, or pineal gland. Primary brain tumours begin when normal cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA.
In adults, primary brain tumours are much less common than secondary brain tumours, in which cancer begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the brain.
Diagnosing a brain tumour usually involves a neurological exam, brain scans and a biopsy, if one can be performed safely.
A neurological exam may include a variety of tests to evaluate neurological functions such as balance, hearing, vision and reflexes. Various imaging techniques, including CT scan, MRI, and occasionally an angiogram or X-rays, can be used to identify the tumour, determine its location and assess the function of your brain.
If a biopsy is possible, the results can be used to determine how aggressive the tumour is. Dr Shiva will also study the tumour tissue for any biomarkers that can help personalise the treatment approach.
Your treatment will be based on several factors, including the tumour’s type, size, location and genetic makeup. We will also consider your age and general health, the types of symptoms you are experiencing and your needs.
The most common treatment for brain tumours is surgery. Some tumours can be removed entirely by surgery (craniotomy).
Brain tumour surgery aims to:
Relieve the patient’s symptoms. In some cases, patients may require urgent surgery to relieve any raised intracranial pressure.
Examine tissue specimens
Remove tissue or part of the tumour to provide optimal neurological function and survival outcome.
If the tumour cannot be removed, treatment aims to slow growth and relieve symptoms by shrinking the tumour and swelling around it. Treatment options include chemotherapy and radiation therapy to help shrink the tumour, slowing its growth and preventing it from returning.
Cranial surgeries are not particularly painful. You can expect to wake with a bandage on your head. This generally remains in place for 48 hours and helps keep pressure on the scalp to minimise swelling.
The night after surgery is usually spent under close observation. The nurse will take your blood pressure, monitor your pulse rate, and check your temperature regularly. You may also be asked questions to assess your level of consciousness. These are called neurological observations. They determine how your brain and body are recovering from surgery.
The day after surgery may involve a CT or MRI scan to ensure there are no complications at the operation site. We encourage you to get out of bed and be mobile after surgery. Patients are usually able to go home after four to five days.