Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brain tumor on the rise in Indian children

IMA says 90% of these cases are curable if the right treatment protocol is followed

New Delhi, 25 July 2017: According to statistics, every year about 40,000 to 50,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumor, of which 20% are children. What is alarming is that this figure was only about 5% up until a year ago. Additionally, each year about 2,500 Indian children are diagnosed with medulloblastoma. As per the IMA, provided the treatment procedure is followed correctly, about 90% of these cases are curable.

Medulloblastoma is a pediatric malignant primary brain tumor. It spreads through the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and frequently metastasizes to different locations along the surface of the brain and spinal cord. Studies show that brain tumor is the second most common cancer among children after leukemia.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Brain damage is a serious problem irrespective of age. It can lead to problems with thinking, seeing, or speaking and cause personality changes or seizures. While a small percentage of brain tumors is linked to genetic disorders, others may be due to some known environmental hazards such as exposure to certain toxins or radiations. Long-term use of mobile and cordless phones is associated with an increased risk for brain tumor. If the tumor is in the brain stem or certain other parts, surgery may not be possible. Those who cannot undergo surgery receive radiation therapy or other treatment. Some symptoms are repeated episodes of vomiting, and a morning headache. This sometimes leads to misdiagnosis as a gastrointestinal disease or migraine.”
A child with medulloblastoma can have a stumbling gait, frequently falls, diplopia, papilledema, and sixth cranial nerve palsy. In some cases, positional dizziness, and facial sensory loss or motor weakness is also seen. Decerebrate attacks appear in the later stages.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Caring for children with medulloblastoma doesn’t end with active treatment. There is a need to ensure that the tumor has not returned, manage side effects, and monitor the child’s overall health. Most children treated for this disease require lifelong follow-up care including regular physical examinations, medical tests, or both. A tumor can recur if small areas of tumor cells remain undetected in the body. Over time, these cells increase in number and cause signs or symptoms.”

Here are few tips for preventing cancer in children

  • Avoid exposure to chemicals and pesticides. This is particularly true for expectant mothers.
  • Consume a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid self-medication and over consumption of medicines.
  • Quit smoking and drinking right away
  • Give your child immunity-boosting foods.

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