Ignoring headaches for two years a 27-year-old Mumbai-based food businessman was diagnosed with a brain tumour of five centimetres after doctors at Wockhardt hospital in Mumbai Central performed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Akshat Koregaonkar had a history of mild headaches on and off mostly in the morning but he never bothered about it. After some time, he had blurred vision, occasional vomiting, and nausea, following which he was admitted to Wockhardt Hospital.
In 2018, brain tumours were ranked as the 10th most common kind of tumour among Indians. The International Association of Cancer Registries (IARC) reported that there are over 28,000 cases of brain tumours reported in India each year and more than 24,000 people reportedly die due to brain tumours annually. Moreover, brain tumours are estimated to occur at the rate of 5-10 per 100,000 population.
Dr Mazda Turel, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central said, a brain tumour is a growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Half the brain tumours are noncancerous (benign) and the other half are cancerous (malignant). One must understand a persistent headache can be dangerous hence avoid ignoring the headache for a longer time.
“Most of the headaches aren’t a cause of concern but the trick is to identify a sinister headache. A simple MRI which is devoid of any radiation can give you the answer even if it sounds like an overkill. The nature of a brain tumour headache is slightly different from the migraine or stress headache but oftentimes indiscernible,” he said.
Dr Mazda further added that many young patients are diagnosed with a brain tumour simply due to a nagging headache. However, it’s necessary to be diagnosed and start treatment.
“During the investigation, he was detected with a brain tumour of 5 cms, and it was a benign tumour. The tumour was a large one compressing the pathways of cerebrospinal fluid drainage which required surgery. He underwent the surgery and the histopathology diagnosis turned out to be a meningioma (A usually non-cancerous tumour that arises from the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord),” he explained.
A senior neurologist from the civic-run hospital said that the exact cause of tumour origin essentially remains unknown in the majority of cases. However, there is now sufficient evidence to suggest that radiation exposure can produce brain tumours by causing direct damage to DNA.
“Since past few years, there has been a growing belief and concern in the general public that the use or overuse of cell phones causes brain tumours as a result of the radiation emitted by these devices. It has also been miscommunicated that cell phones can affect mental health, sleep, and normal brain activities adversely leading to the development of brain tumours,” he said.
Symptoms to be aware of that could suggest the possibility of a brain tumour:
• Sudden weight loss
• Loss of vision or blurred vision
• Loss of balance
• Pressure felt in the back of the head
• Sudden change in speech
• Mood swings and anger
• Hearing loss
• Numbness on one side of the body
• Weakness felt in the body