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`Early diagnosis vital to treat brain tumor`

LAHORE: Punjab Institute of Nureo Sciences Executive Director Prof Khalid Mahmood says brain tumor is one of the uncommon ailments that can lead to death.

Despite being an atypical condition overall, brain tumor stand s as the 10th most common tumor, he said on the eve of the World Brain Tumor Day.

`It affects about two per cent of people worldwide,` he said and thanked the German Brain Tumor Association for undertaking the initiative of raising awareness about brain tumor amongst the masses.

`In Pakistan on this day apart from general awareness, we let our citizens know what new diagnostic and treatment expertise we have brought in for poor people in the public sector. It is not exactly known what causes these tumors.

However, there is increased risk in certain rare genetic syndromes and childhood exposure to radia-tion. Certainly if father or a brother has brain tumor, there is no increased risk in children or rest of family members,` a press release quoted him as having said.

Prof Mahmood declared that the ailment could present with headaches, problem with vision, epilepsy, stroke, personality changes and drowsiness. If not diagnosed early, he said, it could lead to comatose condition.

`Nowadays it is very easy to diagnose these tumors with a contrast CT scan of brain which is widely available. Sometimes we have to do MRI scan of brain which gives better details of tumor size, location and its exact relation with blood vessels and eloquent parts of brain like speech, arm, face, leg areas.

`3 Tesla MRI in public sector of Pakistan is functional at the PINS, Lahore General Hospital...,` he said.

He said, `there are 100 dif ferenttypes of brain tumors and not every tumor is cancerous.

Different types of brain tumors present in different age groups from childhood to old age. Tumors can either arise from brain primarily or spread to it from rest of body. However, tumors arising from brain do not spread to other parts of body.

He said a neurosurgeon should operate in a way as to steal away tumor from brain during surgery, meaning that rest of brain should remain undisturbed and there should be no/ minimal external evidence of surgery. Recently there has been great improvement in treatment of brain tumors in Pakistan where a neurosurgeon does minimal invasive surgery which means small area of head shave, small incision hidden in hairline with better visibility and direct and safe access to tumor with Neuronavigation and operating microscope.