We often perceive a brain tumor as unbeatable, but the top brain tumor specialists would disagree. The term brain tumor is terrifying, and patients typically experience feelings of depression upon receiving a diagnosis. This fear is often influenced by the portrayal of brain tumors in Indian soaps and movies, which depict them as messengers of impending death.
“It is crucial to recognize that not all brain tumors are fatal,” says Dr. Raveesh Sunkara, often called the top neurosurgeon in Hyderabad. “While some brain tumors are cancerous, the majority are benign.”
Brain tumors can be categorized into two types: slow-growing and fast-growing. They can either originate in the brain or spread from cancerous cells in other areas of the body. However, regardless of the tumor type, treatment options are available. Many benign tumors are completely curable, and we can manage even malignant (cancerous) brain tumors effectively and lead long lives with proper treatment.
According to the 2021 ICMR hospital-based cancer registries, brain and nervous system cancers accounted for less than 2% of all cancers. This is significantly lower than other types of cancer, such as head and neck, lung, or breast cancers. The American Cancer Society reports that the lifetime risk of developing a primary malignant brain tumor is less than 1%, whereas:
Still, brain tumors can hamper the quality of life, so people always ponder how to minimize the risks of developing such tumors. It is essential to equip oneself with accurate information, maintain hope, and not fall prey to myths when faced with a brain tumor diagnosis for yourself or a loved one.
Dr. Raveesh Sunkara, a renowned brain tumor specialist and neurosurgeon in Hyderabad, debunks some popular myths surrounding brain tumors.
Myth 1: Cell Phones And Microwaves Can Cause Brain Tumors.
Fact: Brain tumors, microwaves, and cell phones have all been the subject of research and discussion. However, based on the available scientific data, there is currently no proof that microwaves or cell phones directly cause brain tumors. The non-ionizing radiation from phones lacks sufficient energy to harm the DNA in your cells systematically.
On the other hand, constant exposure to ionizing radiation in industrial or other professional scenarios can have adverse side effects and should not be taken lightly.
It is always advisable to stay informed about the latest scientific research and guidelines from reputable health organizations as our understanding of the topic evolves.
Myth 2: Dental X-Rays Can Cause Brain Tumor.
Fact: Some published studies reveal that dental X-rays were linked with a high risk of developing meningiomas.However, these are based on old studies and used X-ray machines with high doses of radiation. Dentists in facilities with advanced technologies follow strict guidelines and protocols to ensure that patients receive the necessary diagnostic information while minimizing radiation exposure.
Myth 3: Artificial Sweeteners CanLead To Brain Tumors.
Fact: There is no evidence to support the claim that artificial sweeteners cause brain tumors. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and others, have undergone extensive safety evaluations by regulatory agencies worldwide, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
However, as with any dietary component, moderation is the key. Limiting the use of artificial sweeteners and other food additives will be beneficial for your overall well-being.
Myth 4: If A Family Member Has Brain Tumor, You Will Have It Too.
Fact: While having a family member diagnosed with a brain tumor may slightly elevate your risk, the overall likelihood remains relatively low.
Genetic predisposition to brain tumors is primarily associated with a limited number of conditions such as Li Fraumeni syndrome, Neurofibromatosis Type1 (NF1) and Type2 (NF2), etc., which represent a small fraction of brain tumor cases. While there are informal reports of brain tumor clusters and meningiomas in some families, ongoing studies aim to further explore and establish these theories.
It’s advisable to discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional for a more personalized assessment based on your family history and individual risk factors.
Myth 5: Only Old Patients Are Susceptible To Brain Tumors.
Fact: Patients of all ages can develop brain tumors.Among pediatric cancers, brain tumors are the most common solid tumors in children. However, in the general population, brain tumors are more commonly diagnosed in adults. Different types of brain tumors can vary in their prevalence across different age groups.
Myth 6: Headaches And Blurring Of Vision Are Symptoms Of Brain Tumors
Fact:Not all brain tumors occur with symptoms of headache and blurred vision. The symptoms of a brain tumor can vary depending on the tumor’s size, location, and other factors.
While headaches and visual disturbances can be associated with some brain tumors, other symptoms such as seizures, cognitive changes, motor difficulties, or sensory impairments may also occur.
Headache and blurred vision can also be caused by low blood sugar and migraine. However, it is crucial to seek medical intervention if you experience any discomfort to rule out severe conditions.
Myth 7: You Can Prevent Brain Tumors With Lifestyle Modifications.
Fact: The development of brain tumors is a complex process influenced by various factors, including genetics and environmental factors that may not be entirely within an individual’s control.
That said, leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, avoiding smoking or chewing tobacco, or overconsumption of alcohol can reduce the risk of certain health conditions. A healthy lifestyle can promote overall well-being, and a healthy body can withstand the various treatments of tumors if they occur.
Myth 8: All Brain Tumors Are Deadly.
Fact: No, not all brain tumors are deadly. While some brain tumors can be life-threatening, others are benign and non-cancerous and can be successfully treated or even cured with appropriate medical intervention. Tumors like meningiomas or schwannomas are benign and completely curable.
Low-grade cancerous or malignant brain tumors can also be treated successfully. Immediate life-threatening danger is primarily associated with aggressive tumors like Glioblastoma (GBM), a WHO Grade 4 tumor. However, treatment options for these tumors are continuously advancing and show promising outcomes.
Take a sigh. Brain tumors are curable in our scientifically advanced generation. Early detection is crucial for successful outcomes.
“Regular screenings and being aware of potential warning signs can significantly contribute to early detection,” advises Dr. Raveesh Sunkara, frequently regarded as the best neurosurgeon in Hyderabad. “Timely diagnosis allows for prompt intervention and a higher likelihood of effective treatment”.
So don’t be late for your checkup in the best brain tumor clinic in Hyderabad if you suspect anything.