Brain TumorsFalse Facts about Brain Tumors

12 September 2018by Prof. Dr. Alper Kaya0
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Brain tumors are masses within the brain tissue that developed due to abnormal uncontrolled cell reproduction as in tumors elsewhere in the body. Just like other tumors, brain tumors can be benign or malignant.

Benign tumors not requiring any intervention due to their benign nature is a false fact. Benign tumors don’t recur when they are completely removed with surgery and the patient is cured. So, they are the type of tumor that surgery is most effective and life-saving.

However, in malignant tumors, surgical treatment can prolong lifespan depending on its quality but the tumor eventually recurs despite everything. The most important factor that increases survival is a well-performed surgery. Gamma-knife, other radiation therapies and chemotherapy can only help surgery.

If morning headaches are followed by nausea and vomiting…

Brain tumors have a wide range of signs and symptoms. Headache is present in almost half of the patients; the remaining half may not experience any headache despite a large brain tumor. Headache due to brain tumors can be in various forms but is usually characterized with severe pain in the morning followed by nausea and vomiting. Tumor will cause a symptom related to the functional area it is located in. For example, a tumor in the speech center impairs speech and hearing. A tumor in the visual center causes visual symptoms. A tumor in the motor area, which moves our body, can present with paralysis. Seizures in a patient without a history of epilepsy is also common.

Death rates…

Every year approximately 4-5 people in every 100000 pass away because of brain tumors. Approximately 14 people in every 100000 are diagnosed with brain tumors every year. Patients in every age group, from newborn to people in their 80s, can have brain tumors. Malignant tumors are more frequent in childhood and so it is more dangerous. Early diagnosis is important in brain tumors as in every cancer, because treatment is easier in early stages. Unfortunately malignant brain tumors grow rapidly without causing any symptoms, so the patients usually present in late stages. The diagnosis can only be made with brain MRI or CT imaging. The exact cause is unknown as in other tumors, but ionized radiation (explosion of atomic reactors, frequent exposure to X-ray) is primarily responsible. All known carcinogens are also responsible for brain tumors (textile paints – vinyl chloride, processed food, nitrite derivatives, dried meat etc.). Brain tumors can also be seen in newborns, they can even form in the womb. The cause is mother’s exposure to above-mentioned factors during pregnancy.

There is no scientific evidence proving that technological devices like mobile phones cause brain tumors.

Frontal lobe of our brain is responsible for our personality and psychological nature. Sudden changes in mood and personality (depression or manic behavior) are frequent in frontal lobe tumors.

False facts about brain tumors…

–         It is wrong to say that all brain tumors cause headache. Half of the patients don’t experience headache at all.

–         It is wrong to say that benign brain tumors don’t require surgery or any treatment at all. On the contrary, surgery saves the patient’s life and cures the patient in these benign tumors. So the most important factors in the treatment are excellent surgery, experience and equipment. If benign tumors are left untreated they become life-threatening, eventually killing the patient.

–          The factor that improves survival the most in malignant tumors is good surgery and this is where the skills and experience of the surgeon matters. It is very wrong to say that brain tumors don’t require surgery anymore and techniques like gamma-knife and cyber knife cure the patient. These techniques can only help well-performed surgical treatment in very limited type of tumors. They cannot be the sole treatment modality. Also, they are unfortunately ineffective in the majority of brain tumors.

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