Treatment Plan

Best Hospitals for Brain Tumor treatment in India

Treatment Plan

A brain tumour is a mass of abnormal cells that grow in the brain affecting its normal function. A brain tumour is classified according to various criteria like nature, site of origin etc. of a tumour. Brain tumours are now treatable with more and more modern techniques being developed for the removal of the tumour and the management of complications of the treatment.

All brain tumours are not cancerous. Brain tumours are of two kinds: benign and malignant. Benign tumours are non-cancerous and are usually not deeply rooted in the brain tissue. This makes it easier to remove them as well. They are generally not considered as dangerous or life-threatening.

Malignant tumours are cancerous and can grow at a quicker rate. They can easily spread to other parts of the brain as well.

Brain tumours can also be classified in the following manner:

Based on the site of origin: 

• Primary (originating from the brain itself) 

• Secondary or metastatic (originating from some other body part and spreading to the brain)

Based on the tissue of origin:

• Glioblastoma, Astrocytoma, Ependymoma, Oligoastrocytoma, Oligodendroglioma etc. are some of the brain tumours that originate from the Glial cells of the brain 

• Meningiomas are mostly benign tumours that originate from the meninges

• Schwannomas originate from the Schwann cells of the neurons

• Pituitary adenomas originate from the base of the brains 

• Primitive neuroectodermal tumours originate from the embryonic cells of the brain

• Germ cells tumours originate from the remnants of the germ cells

• Craniopharyngiomas are benign tumours of the pituitaries

• Secondary brain tumours are due to the spread of cancer of the breast, colon, kidney, lung, and melanoma 

Symptoms and signs of a brain tumour depend upon the site, type, and size of the tumour. Benign brain tumour symptoms might differ from that of malignant ones, but the general symptoms that could be indicative of a brain tumour are:

• A severe headache (usually worse in the morning)

• Changes in sensation, vision, smell, hearing etc.

• Personality or memory changes

• Nausea or vomiting

• Visual disturbances

• Seizures

• Drowsiness and sleep problems

• Changes in ability to walk

While these symptoms are present in other conditions that affect the brain, one should not rush to a conclusion of the disease, if any or all the symptoms are present in an individual. There are certain symptoms that may be specific to the location of brain tumour and are due to the pressure effects exerted by the benign tumours and due to the loss of healthy brain tissue in case of malignant tumours. 

Some of the symptoms indicative of a brain tumour based on its location are-

• In cerebellum- loss of balance, difficulty with fine motor skills

• In cerebrum- if the tumour is in the frontal lobe- changes in personality, changes in sensation, memory loss, sluggishness, muscle weakness, paralysis, aggressiveness, mood changes and if in the temporal lobe- partial or complete loss of vision, double vision, personality disorders, memory loss, altered perception of touch or pressure, weakness in the legs, aggressiveness and mood changes. If in the parietal lobe-altered perception of touch or pressure, arm or leg weakness on one side, inability to differentiate between left and right side

• In the brain stem- difficulty in swallowing, numbness in the face, inability to control facial muscles 

 

The treatment options for brain cancer depends on a number of factors such as:

       Size of the tumour (small or big)

       Type of tumour (benign or malignant)

       Grade of the tumour

       Effect of the tumour (symptoms)

       General health of the patient

       Presence of other co-morbid conditions

       Side effect of the treatments

 

The treatment options available for brain tumours are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. One or all of these treatment options are chosen depending upon the above-mentioned factors. In cases of lower grade tumours, surgery is the first line of treatment to be followed by chemotherapy or radiation only if necessary. In higher grade tumours, a combination of all these three is necessary.

Surgery: Surgery is the common treatment method for brain surgery. The surgeon will always attempt to remove the entire tumour, whenever possible. In case if the tumour cannot be entirely removed without causing damage to the surrounding area, then a partial removal is done. This will also help alleviate the pain and other symptoms, by reducing the pressure put on the brain.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. The doctor may use just one drug or a combination of drugs, given orally or by injection into a muscle or blood vessel.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-powered rays to destroy cancer cells and stop them from growing. It is usually used to kill cancer cells which cannot be removed via surgery or target those cancer cells which survived surgery.

Risks of brain tumour treatment:

While the brain tumour is a serious health hazard, a treatment for it can itself create serious complications. All types of brain tumours come with its share of risks. In surgery, there is always a possibility of damaging the brain tissue close to the tumour, especially so when the tumour is in a delicate area close to sensitive structures. The after-effects could be irreversible brain damage. In radiation therapy, the tissue around the tumour exposed to the radiation can undergo irreversible changes. In chemotherapy, the blood-brain barrier which is a protective mechanism for preventing hazardous chemicals could prevent the entry of the drugs as well. 

Dos and Don’ts after brain tumour surgery:

Recovery from surgery is a very gradual process and could be a difficult period for the patient, relatives, and the doctors. There are certain things that one should understand and follow after brain tumour treatment. 

Dos:

• Show patience for results to be obvious

• Cooperate fully with the doctors and the nursing staff

• Share your concerns with your medical team

• Follow the diet prescribed and report any problems with swallowing

Don’ts:

• Don’t panic if there is only little improvement in the short term

• Don’t forget to take medicines on time

• Don’t ignore signs or symptoms that were not present before and report immediately to the doctor.

The cost of brain tumour surgery in India is in the range of 8000 -12000 USD. The cost depends on the type of surgery, hospital selected etc. Brain tumour treatment cost in India is one of the lowest among medically advanced countries and hence more and more patients come in for treatment from other countries.

Apart from these patients will also need to factor in expenses such as travelling costs, hotel stay for the patient and their fellow traveller(s), food and miscellaneous expenses.

A brain tumour is a mass of abnormal cells that grow in the brain affecting its normal function. A brain tumour is classified according to various criteria like nature, site of origin etc. of a tumour. Brain tumours are now treatable with more and more modern techniques being developed for the removal of the tumour and the management of complications of the treatment.

All brain tumours are not cancerous. Brain tumours are of two kinds: benign and malignant. Benign tumours are non-cancerous and are usually not deeply rooted in the brain tissue. This makes it easier to remove them as well. They are generally not considered as dangerous or life-threatening.

Malignant tumours are cancerous and can grow at a quicker rate. They can easily spread to other parts of the brain as well.

Brain tumours can also be classified in the following manner:

Based on the site of origin: 

• Primary (originating from the brain itself) 

• Secondary or metastatic (originating from some other body part and spreading to the brain)

Based on the tissue of origin:

• Glioblastoma, Astrocytoma, Ependymoma, Oligoastrocytoma, Oligodendroglioma etc. are some of the brain tumours that originate from the Glial cells of the brain 

• Meningiomas are mostly benign tumours that originate from the meninges

• Schwannomas originate from the Schwann cells of the neurons

• Pituitary adenomas originate from the base of the brains 

• Primitive neuroectodermal tumours originate from the embryonic cells of the brain

• Germ cells tumours originate from the remnants of the germ cells

• Craniopharyngiomas are benign tumours of the pituitaries

• Secondary brain tumours are due to the spread of cancer of the breast, colon, kidney, lung, and melanoma 

Symptoms and signs of a brain tumour depend upon the site, type, and size of the tumour. Benign brain tumour symptoms might differ from that of malignant ones, but the general symptoms that could be indicative of a brain tumour are:

• A severe headache (usually worse in the morning)

• Changes in sensation, vision, smell, hearing etc.

• Personality or memory changes

• Nausea or vomiting

• Visual disturbances

• Seizures

• Drowsiness and sleep problems

• Changes in ability to walk

While these symptoms are present in other conditions that affect the brain, one should not rush to a conclusion of the disease, if any or all the symptoms are present in an individual. There are certain symptoms that may be specific to the location of brain tumour and are due to the pressure effects exerted by the benign tumours and due to the loss of healthy brain tissue in case of malignant tumours. 

Some of the symptoms indicative of a brain tumour based on its location are-

• In cerebellum- loss of balance, difficulty with fine motor skills

• In cerebrum- if the tumour is in the frontal lobe- changes in personality, changes in sensation, memory loss, sluggishness, muscle weakness, paralysis, aggressiveness, mood changes and if in the temporal lobe- partial or complete loss of vision, double vision, personality disorders, memory loss, altered perception of touch or pressure, weakness in the legs, aggressiveness and mood changes. If in the parietal lobe-altered perception of touch or pressure, arm or leg weakness on one side, inability to differentiate between left and right side

• In the brain stem- difficulty in swallowing, numbness in the face, inability to control facial muscles 

 

The treatment options for brain cancer depends on a number of factors such as:

       Size of the tumour (small or big)

       Type of tumour (benign or malignant)

       Grade of the tumour

       Effect of the tumour (symptoms)

       General health of the patient

       Presence of other co-morbid conditions

       Side effect of the treatments

 

The treatment options available for brain tumours are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. One or all of these treatment options are chosen depending upon the above-mentioned factors. In cases of lower grade tumours, surgery is the first line of treatment to be followed by chemotherapy or radiation only if necessary. In higher grade tumours, a combination of all these three is necessary.

Surgery: Surgery is the common treatment method for brain surgery. The surgeon will always attempt to remove the entire tumour, whenever possible. In case if the tumour cannot be entirely removed without causing damage to the surrounding area, then a partial removal is done. This will also help alleviate the pain and other symptoms, by reducing the pressure put on the brain.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. The doctor may use just one drug or a combination of drugs, given orally or by injection into a muscle or blood vessel.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-powered rays to destroy cancer cells and stop them from growing. It is usually used to kill cancer cells which cannot be removed via surgery or target those cancer cells which survived surgery.

Risks of brain tumour treatment:

While the brain tumour is a serious health hazard, a treatment for it can itself create serious complications. All types of brain tumours come with its share of risks. In surgery, there is always a possibility of damaging the brain tissue close to the tumour, especially so when the tumour is in a delicate area close to sensitive structures. The after-effects could be irreversible brain damage. In radiation therapy, the tissue around the tumour exposed to the radiation can undergo irreversible changes. In chemotherapy, the blood-brain barrier which is a protective mechanism for preventing hazardous chemicals could prevent the entry of the drugs as well. 

Dos and Don’ts after brain tumour surgery:

Recovery from surgery is a very gradual process and could be a difficult period for the patient, relatives, and the doctors. There are certain things that one should understand and follow after brain tumour treatment. 

Dos:

• Show patience for results to be obvious

• Cooperate fully with the doctors and the nursing staff

• Share your concerns with your medical team

• Follow the diet prescribed and report any problems with swallowing

Don’ts:

• Don’t panic if there is only little improvement in the short term

• Don’t forget to take medicines on time

• Don’t ignore signs or symptoms that were not present before and report immediately to the doctor.

The cost of brain tumour surgery in India is in the range of 8000 -12000 USD. The cost depends on the type of surgery, hospital selected etc. Brain tumour treatment cost in India is one of the lowest among medically advanced countries and hence more and more patients come in for treatment from other countries.

Apart from these patients will also need to factor in expenses such as travelling costs, hotel stay for the patient and their fellow traveller(s), food and miscellaneous expenses.