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    Can a brain tumour make you short-tempered?

    By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 26, 2023

    As we commemorate World Brain Tumour Day, let me share with you the remarkable story of Fern Cameron, a 24-year-old nurse from Scotland. In the midst of her night shifts at the hospital, she started experiencing a loss of balance and a sudden surge of irritability. What she dismissed as mere clumsiness turned out to be far more serious—a brain tumour. It’s astonishing how we often overlook the subtle symptoms of this condition.

    According to an article by The Mirror, Fern also developed double vision and noticed a significant change in her temper. Concerned, she consulted a neurologist who recommended an MRI scan. The results were devastating—she had a large brain tumour.

    Debunking Myths: Do Brain Tumours Impact Behavior?

    Naturally, Fern’s story raises an important question: Can a brain tumour cause changes in one’s behavior? To shed light on this matter, Health Shots sought the expertise of Dr. Shivakumar S Kupanur, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Head of the Neurosurgery Department at SPARSH Hospital.

    Dr. Kupanur explained that brain tumours, while prevalent, are shrouded in numerous misconceptions and myths. “The incidence of central nervous system (CNS) tumours in India ranges from 5 to 10 per 100,000 populations, and accounts for 2 percent of malignancies,” he shared. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options associated with brain tumours.

    The Impact of Brain Tumours on Behavior and Mental Health

    As Dr. Kupanur highlighted, not all brain tumours cause behavioral disturbances. The specific location of the tumour determines the symptoms that manifest. For instance, if the tumour affects the speech area, it can disrupt speech patterns. Similarly, if it affects the motor area, weakness in a specific part of the body may occur. Tumours in the frontal lobe can lead to psychological symptoms, such as aggressive or deviant behavior.

    However, Dr. Kupanur reassures us that behavioral disturbances are not always prominent unless the tumour is quite sizable.

    Treatment Options for Brain Tumours

    There is hope for individuals diagnosed with brain tumours, particularly those classified as benign or meningiomas. Surgical excision can provide a cure in such cases. Other low-grade tumours, when completely removed and followed by radiation and chemotherapy, can enable patients to lead normal lives for 7-12 years, unless a recurrence occurs.

    Excision is also a viable treatment option for certain brain tumours like epidermoids and dermoids. However, aggressive and highly cancerous tumours like Glioblastomas offer a life expectancy of only a few months.

    The type of treatment recommended by doctors depends on various factors, including the tumour’s type, grade, molecular staging, its position in the brain, and the patient’s overall health.

    Treatment options include:

    • Surgery
    • Radiotherapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Steroids
    • Anti-seizure medication

    Recognizing the Symptoms of Brain Tumours

    Symptoms of brain tumours can be vague and may include the following:

    • Headache
    • Altered mental status
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Weakness
    • Difficulty walking
    • Seizures
    • Vision changes
    • Speech difficulties
    • Sensory abnormalities
    • New-onset seizures in adults or a headache accompanied by limb weakness or numbness.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult your doctor promptly. They will inquire about your symptoms, conduct a physical examination, and may order an MRI or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.

    Remember, early detection and intervention can significantly improve outcomes when dealing with brain tumours. Stay vigilant and take care of your mental and physical well-being.

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