Facts we need to know about Brain Tumours

By Dr. Rajan Shah in Centre for Neurosciences

Apr 24 , 2023 | 6 min read

What is Brain Tumour?

A Brain Tumour is an abnormal growth placed within the skull which usually causes high pressure within the skull (raised intracranial tension). This could be responsible for causing headache, vomiting, visual disturbances, double vision, squint, hearing impairment, unilateral weakness of the limbs and drowsiness. Occasionally it can also be a cause of seizures (Epilepsy).

Myths of Brain Tumours

  • Brain Tumours are cancerous: Contrary to popular belief, brain tumours are not always cancerous. In fact, benign (non-cancerous) tumours are much more common than malignant (cancerous) ones. Benign tumours can often be safely removed without any serious risks or side effects.
  • Brain Tumours cause seizures: Brain tumours do not necessarily cause seizures. While seizures can be a symptom of a brain tumour, they can also be caused by other conditions such as stroke or infection.
  • Brain tumours are always life-threatening: This couldn't be further from the truth. While brain tumours can be serious, there are many different types and many of them are benign (not harmful). In fact, according to the National Brain Tumour Society, more than 80% of all brain tumours are benign.
  • Brain tumours can only be treated with surgery: Again, this is not always the case! While surgery is often a part of treatment for brain tumours, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also common treatments.
  • Cell Phone Usage Causes Brain Tumours: There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that cell phone usage leads to brain tumours. In fact, studies have shown that the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones is not harmful and does not increase the risk of developing a tumour.
  • Brain Tumour Treatments Cause Long-Term Side Effects: Yes, the treatments can be tough, and as for the side effects, they vary from person to person. Some people might have a few minor side effects that go away quickly, while others might have more serious side effects that last for a while. But either way, the majority of people who have brain tumour treatment don't have any long-term side effects.
  • Diet and Lifestyle Have No Effect on Brain Tumour Growths: There are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing a brain tumour. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly is important. Additionally, avoiding exposure to toxins and limiting your alcohol intake can also help keep your risk down. Taking steps to live a healthy life can make a big difference in your overall health - and may even help reduce your risk of developing a brain tumour.
  • No Treatment Exists for Recurrent and/or Metastatic Brain Tumours: Not only are treatment options for both primary and recurrent brain tumours available in India, but they also match up to international standards, be it Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy. While it’s true that some brain tumours are more resistant to treatment than others, there is still hope for those who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour. There are many clinical trials underway testing new and innovative treatments for brain tumours, so there is reason to be hopeful for the future.
  • Everyone with a Brain Tumour Experiences the Same Symptoms: Brain tumour symptoms can vary widely from person to person, depending on the size and location of the tumour. Some common symptoms of brain tumours include headaches, seizures, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, changes in mood or personality, and difficulty speaking or understanding speech. But keep in mind that not everyone with a brain tumour will experience all of these symptoms. And some people may experience other symptoms that are not on this list. If you're concerned about any changes you've been noticing in your health, it's always best to talk to your doctor to diagnose if your symptoms are caused by a brain tumour or something else.
  • Surgery is the only option for brain tumours: No! In fact, surgery is the first line of treatment for most tumours even before Radiation, Chemotherapy, Histopathology. And once the surgery is completed, patients can live as normally as other individuals
  • Brain Tumours are fatal: Brain tumours are not always deadly. With advances in medical technology, many people with brain tumours now live long and healthy lives.

Role of Neurosurgeons

When it comes to treating brain tumours, the most important role is played by Neurosurgeons. They can remove the tumour completely, and then direct you to adjuvant (additional) treatment of Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy.

Neurosurgeons don't just perform operations but also offer post-operative care such as wound care, seizure medications, and follow-up treatment.

The follow-up scan is done as per the patient's requirement and is a standardized process across the world.

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Role of a Physiotherapist

Not all patients who get operated on require physiotherapy. Only patients with weakness in limbs or other deficiencies pre-surgery are advised to go in for it. Nearly 70-80% of all patients begin to lead normal lives post-surgery with the help of a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist also improves the morale of a patient.

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Role of a Caregiver

  • Personal hygiene and wound care
  • Offers companionship
  • Arranges all files and reports in chronological order
  • Updates the chart and scheduling of medication Updates the chart of improvement and looks out for subtle symptoms as informed by the neurosurgeon.
  • Helps in tube feeding, the passing of motion, and urine through catheters, for those in terminal stages

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there any dietary restrictions after brain tumour surgery?

No. The patient can eat whatever they like. 2-2.5 litres of calories must be consumed. Alcohol should not be consumed.

2. How soon can I resume work post the brain tumour surgery?

If the surgery is uncomplicated, the patient can generally resume their daily activities from the 3rd day following surgery. From day 4, exercise and morning walks may be performed with an accompanied person. Work may be resumed after the removal of the suture, which occurs after day 10.

3. For how many days does the patient need to stay in the hospital?

The patient must be admitted to the hospital one day before surgery. Following surgery, patients should generally stay in the hospital for 2-3 days if the surgery is uncomplicated.

4. Does the patient need to completely shave their head?

No. There is no need to completely shave the patient's head. In fact, for women, hair is only removed at the operating spot. This spot is not visible after surgery as it is hidden by the remaining hair.

5. Is Radiotherapy / Chemotherapy required for all tumours?

No. For benign tumours, surgery is sufficient. A few malignant tumours like glioma require chemotherapy which is administered in the form of a tablet. There is no need to stay in the hospital for chemotherapy.

6. Is surgery important for those with last stage brain tumours, old patients, or multiple comorbidity patients?

Yes. One must understand that surgery not only helps diagnose and prognosticate the disease and years of survival, but also improves the quality of life so that those who are old or terminally ill may live with dignity in the case of a last stage of the disease. Surgery also helps us reduce intracranial pressure which could be the cause of mortality.

Dos and Don'ts (Information) for Caregivers

  • Manage and administer medications in time
  • Look after the patient while also ensuring self-hygiene
  • Maintain hygiene standards for the patient as well as for oneself
  • Learn to transfer the patient from the bed to the wheelchair and vice versa
  • Assist the patient with recreational and respite activities to keep up the patient's morale
  • If they have any doubt, contact qualified doctors immediately
  • Arrange all the documents according to doctor section, imaging section, video recordings and personal diary for basic parameters


We are delighted to announce that our excellent care centres in Nanavati Max Hospital have been treating all aspects of Brain Tumours — from Surgery and Chemotherapy to Radiotherapy and Physiotherapy — for years, and is still going strong.

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