As part of their 35th anniversary, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada wants you to join the movement and ‘Turn May Grey’ in support of Brain Tumour Awareness Month. A brain tumour is classified as growth of atypical cells found within or around the brain’s structure. As many as 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour each day, and there are currently an estimated 55,000 Canadians living with brain tumours today.
Brain tumours are typically grouped into two categories: Primary brain tumours, which are tumours that originate in the brain, and Metastatic tumours, which are tumours that originate in other areas of the body before spreading to the brain. Primary tumours occur in approximately 8 out of every 100,000 people, but this number rises significantly when metastatic tumours are involved.
The most common type of brain tumour is known as gioblastoma multiforme. It is considered to be high-grade and aggressive, and even with treatment the average survival rate is less than 1 year. On the opposite end of the spectrum, lower-grade tumours (grades I or II) are not considered to be aggressive and are often treated with simple monitoring or, if necessary, surgery. Treatment for brain tumours is based on various factors such as the patient’s age, overall health, medical history, as well as the type, location and size of the brain tumour itself and how likely it is to spread or recur. The most common treatment for brain tumors is chemotherapy or radiation. Medications like antiepileptic drugs, antiemetics, steroids and pain relievers may be prescribed to treat the symptoms that are associated with brain tumours. These symptoms include seizures, nausea and vomiting, frequent headaches, double and/or blurred vision, cognitive and behavioural changes. It is important to note that each individual diagnosed with a brain tumour will have differing symptoms. In fact, some may not even develop symptoms that are indicative of a brain tumour whatsoever, whereas others may have symptoms that worsen over time or come on suddenly.
For patients living with brain tumours, Vancouver physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary will remain part of a long-term treatment plan alongside specialists, such as oncologists – not just during the initial treatment process, but to aide in the patient’s recovery as well as support in long-term management.
It is important to follow-up with your healthcare team whenever required, or if you have any questions pertaining to your treatment.