Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brain Tumor Action Week 2011

May 4 - 10, 2011
A tumor is simply an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).

In general, tumors occur when cells divide excessively in the body. Typically, cell division is strictly controlled. New cells are created to replace older ones or to perform new functions. Cells that are damaged or no longer needed die to make room for healthy replacements. If the balance of cell division and death is disturbed, a tumor may form.

A brain tumor is very serious because they develop in an area where space is limited, and early detection is uncommon because of the protection from the skull.  For that reason they are not diagnosed until late in their development.

The signs and symptoms of brain tumors depends on where they are located in the brain.   There could be physical signs such as:
·       Unexplained Nausea and vomiting
·       Headaches
·       Altered states of Consciousness
·       bulging at the area
·       Vision Problems
·       Partial Paralysis

Cognitive Signs and Symptoms would include:
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Memory Loss
  • Lack of Recognition
  • Personality or Emotional Changes

Diagnosis
  • Brain Tumors are difficult to diagnose because the signs and symptoms mimic so many other problems, especially in the elderly.   They are attributed to simply "getting older".
  • They are detected by using an electroencephalography ( EEG).
  • CT Scans
  • MRI's

Treatment
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Or sometimes the best course of treatment depending on the location is to do nothing.

Each of the 3 times my husband was hospitalized his signs included unable to arouse.  His admitting diagnosis was change in mental status.  One of the first tests they ran was the CT and EEG to rule out any brain disorders.  I have to admit that this always frustrated me as being a nurse I knew that my husband (who was paralyzed and had been bedridden) was suffering from a severe kidney infection, however after researching for this article I now understand why these tests were included in his evaluation.  Early detection is essential for a better chance of recovery.

Last week I received a call from an old friend.  He told me that his wife, who is in her 70's had just had brain surgery for a brain tumor.  There had been no real alarming signs, she had just been being forgetful and getting confused.  Something anyone would normally expect from someone in their 70's.  Luckily they reported these changes to their doctor who ordered the exams and the tumor was detected.   The surgery was a success, and after a few weeks of recovery at the hospital in Baton Rouge, she was transferred to the local Rehab hospital to complete her recovery and return home to her husband.

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or others around you, don't rule out a brain tumor.  Early detection is the key to a fast and complete recovery.



Brain Tumor Action Week

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