According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 30 to 35 percent of all cancers are preventable. While cancer is a lifestyle disease which can be prevented by maintaining a good, healthy lifestyle, brain cancer is a direct result of a spontaneous genetic mutation in tumour-prone cells or it evolves from already occurring low-grade glial tumours in the brain. Hence, you might not be able to eliminate all chances of contracting it but can lower the risk of brain tumour and get it treated. Dr Sunil Furtado, Senior Consultant, Neurosurgery, Cytecare Hospitals, Bangalore shares few things everyone should know about.
Always be aware of your family’s medical history, including cases of cancers and tumours. If your family has displayed a high risk of genetic syndromes which increase the risk of brain cancers, or there have been cases of the same, then it would be a good idea to maintain a record of this.
A family history of Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Turcot syndrome can make you more prone to brain cancer. Understanding this can also go a long way in identifying brain tumours at an early stage if you experience any of the symptoms.
Radiation from smartphones, microwaves and power lines have no link to brain cancers. Ionising radiation from excessive exposure to radon, x-rays, gamma rays and other high-energy forms of radiation can damage DNA, increasing your chances of contracting cancer. A good way to help you understand and identify your risk of getting cancers is by staying updated on radiation exposures and lowering your exposure to the same.
While age is not a decisive factor that puts you at risk of brain cancer, the risk can increase as you get old, usually after the age of 40. However, some brain tumours like brainstem gliomas and pilocytic astrocytomas (low-grade tumour) are almost limited to affecting children. Understanding the relation and being aware of what changes your body goes through with age can also help you identify the symptoms of cancer and deal with it in the initial stage.
The common brain cancer symptoms to watch out for include seizures, increasing severity of a headache accompanied by vomiting, slurry speech, loss of memory and vision among others. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms persistently for more than a month, then not paying attention to them can be detrimental.
Ignoring signs or avoiding treatment will surely worsen the situation, and it might be too late to save the day. Please visit a neurologist, neurosurgeon or even a general physician at the earliest in such a scenario, for brain tumours are best treated when detected early.
Besides these methods of keeping a check on cancer, one of the most important things to living a healthy life is maintaining good habits. They help one recover well from any surgery or medical therapy.