Brain tumour: Even mild persistent headache can be a sign, warn experts

Doctors say that often asymptomatic, brain tumors give early warning signs which patients should not ignore.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

NEW DELHI : It’s not necessary that signs of brain tumour are always vision impairment or vomiting. A woman in her 40s, with no medical history, was diagnosed with a large central nervous system tumor after she complained of mild persistent headache. Doctors say that often asymptomatic, brain tumors give early warning signs which patients should not ignore.

The 45-year-old patient found herself in the midst of a complex battle against a meningioma, a tumor that grows from the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, doctors at PSRI Hospital say, “Meningiomas, though often asymptomatic in their early stages, can cause focal neurological symptoms as they grow. In this case, the tumor’s size and location warranted intervention. The initial management strategy involved the initiation of levetiracetam (a anti-seizure medicine) for seizure prophylaxis,” says Dr Nitin K Sethi, chairman of neurosciences, at PSRI.

Sharing details of the surgery, Dr Rahul Chawla, associate consultant, neurology, PSRI Hospital say, “Given the complexity of the case, the medical team devised a meticulous surgical plan involving preoperative embolization followed by surgical resection after a 48-hour interval.”

“The tumor resection, achieved with minimal periprocedural blood loss, resulted in a positive outcome. The patient experienced no new onset neurological deficits post-surgery,” he adds.

According to doctors, Meningiomas constitute a substantial 37.6 per cent of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Emphasizing the early diagnosis, they said that though such tumors grow slowly, they can achieve a large size and have significant adverse neurological impact.

Dr Kamal Verma, Director Neurosurgery, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, said early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes and potentially save lives.

“Early detection allows doctors to identify the tumor when it’s smaller and easier to treat. This means a wider range of treatment options might be available, such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, with potentially greater success rates. Besides, it often leads to an improved prognosis (predicted course of the disease). The tumor may be easier to remove completely, and treatment can be more effective in controlling its growth. The early intervention can help minimize potential complications that may arise due to a growing tumor pressing on healthy brain tissue,” Verma explains.

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