News | Dr. Guive Sharifi

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Can brain tumour be cured?

Treatment for a brain tumor differs depending on several factors: a person’s age, general health, and the size, location, and type of tumor.

  • Whether the tumor is putting pressure on vital parts of the brain.
  • If the tumor has spread to other parts of the CNS or body
  • Possible side effects
  • The patient’s preferences and overall health

You and your loved ones will have many questions about brain cancer, the treatment, side effects, and the long-term outlook. Your health care team is the best source of this information. Don’t hesitate to ask.

Brain Cancer Treatment Overview

Treatment of brain cancer is usually complex. Most treatment plans involve several consulting doctors.

The team of doctors includes neurosurgeons (specialists in the brain and nervous system), oncologists, radiation oncologists (doctors who practice radiation therapy), and, of course, your primary health care provider. Your team may also include a dietitian, a social worker, a physical therapist, and, possibly, other specialists such as a neurologist.

The treatment protocols vary widely according to the location of the tumor, its size and type, your age, and any additional medical problems that you may have.

Survival rates in brain cancer vary widely. The major factors that influence survival are the type of cancer, its location, whether it can be surgically removed or reduced in size, your age, and other medical problems.

In general, younger patients have a better prognosis.

Brain cancer that has spread (or metastasized) from somewhere else in the body is the most common type. Survival rates depend on the original cancer and other factors.

Treatment for most types of brain cancer is available and will often give you a better chance of survival. Discuss treatment options and best-estimated prognosis with your cancer team.

Some types of brain tumors grow rapidly; other tumors grow slowly. Considering all these factors, your doctor will talk with you about how soon treatment should start after diagnosis.

Treatment options include those described below, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Your care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of your medical care.

For a low-grade brain tumor, surgery may be the only treatment needed especially if all of the tumor can be removed. If there is visible tumor remaining after surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used. For higher-grade tumors, treatment usually begins with surgery, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Treatment might shrink your tumour and slow its growth. Even if your brain tumour can’t be cured, treatment might control your symptoms for some time. Recovery from a brain tumor is not always possible. If the tumor cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.

This diagnosis is stressful, and an advanced brain tumor is difficult to discuss for many people. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your doctor and health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team is there to help, and many team members have special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families. Making sure a person is physically comfortable and free from pain is extremely important.

Patients who have an advanced brain tumor and who are expected to live less than 6 months.

Treatment for a brain tumour can have several side effects. These can range from fatigue, headaches and scalp irritation for radiation therapy, to brain damage in the case of surgery. Chemotherapy patients may experience nausea and hair loss, while those undergoing radiosurgery may have headaches and nausea. Surgery for a tumour that is close to a nerve, or located in a critical or sensitive area of the brain may affect certain bodily functions such as vision, speech and movement.

Reference:

https://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/brain-cancer-treatment#1

https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/treatment-options

https://www.healthxchange.sg/cancer/brain-skull-cancer/brain-tumour-treatment-overview

By |Wednesday, December 13, 2017|Blog, News|0 Comments

Non-surgical options for brain tumors

While brain surgery is the most common treatment for brain tumors, there are other options for treatment:

  • Steroids—When many people hear ‘steroids’ they think of the steroids used by athletes to build muscle. These are not the same steroids used to treat brain tumors symptoms. Steroids given to a patient for use before, during or after surgery are called corticosteroids, and can help to reduce brain swelling and the buildup of fluids around a tumor.
  • Chemotherapy—This treatment may be used to treat the tumor, but is more known for treating malignant or higher-grade tumors. Chemotherapy drugs are used in attempt to prevent tumor cells from reproducing (cytostatic) or to kill the tumor cells (cytotoxic). Chemotherapy can be administered into the bloodstream through an artery, vein, muscle, the skin or taken by mouth (systemic delivery) or can be delivered closer to the tumor site to avoid the drugs traveling throughout the body (local delivery).
  • Radiation-—This is a common cancer treatment for brain tumors. High doses of radiation are administered to the tumor to stop or slow its growth. Radiation can be used alone or in addition to surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery—Most people associate surgery with going under the knife. That is not the case with this treatment. Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is similar to radiation, however, radiation cannot tell the difference between tumor cells and healthy cells. Because doctors can deliver a more focused delivery of treatment to the brain tumor than conventional radiation treatment, this highly focused form of radiation is called radiosurgery. This treatment is usually used to treat small brain and spinal cord tumors, blood vessel abnormalities in the brain, defined areas of cancer, certain small lung and liver tumors, and neurological like movement disorders. SRS can be delivered in two ways:
  • Proton Therapy—Hydrogen nuclei or protons are accelerated by a cyclotron. The protons are then directed at the tumor through beam shaping blocks, which match the shape of the tumor.
  • Particle Therapy—similar to proton therapy but larger, heavier particles are used to treat the disease with higher relative biological effectiveness than X-rays or protons.
  • Alternative & Integrative Medicine—Some people choose alternative healthcare treatments or wish to combine conventional and alternative therapies – integrative medicine. Given that not all alternative methods are adequately tested and proven, patients should beware that the treatment may not be safe nor effective. Caution should be exercised and your conventional doctor consulted when considering integrative therapies. Many doctors may accept some alternative treatments alongside conventional treatments when appropriate.

Reference:

What are non-surgical options for brain tumors?

By |Tuesday, December 5, 2017|Blog, News|0 Comments

Brain metastatic cancer

Brain metastases are the spread of a primary tumor to the brain. Primary malignant brain tumors are tumors that start in the brain. They are actually quite rare, with an estimated 23,800 new cases in 2017. Brain metastases, commonly called “brain mets,” are far more common. The exact incidence of brain metastases is not known. Studies suggest brain metastases occurs in about 10%-30% of patients with cancer.
Among tumor types, lung cancers account for the highest number of brain metastases, with 25% of patients being affected at some time in their disease course. Other cancers that commonly metastasize to the brain include melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, and renal cell (kidney) cancer. Although these are the most likely types to do so, any type of cancer could spread to the brain.
Cancer can spread to any part of the brain. The most common site of brain metastases is the cerebrum, which is the largest and top part of the brain. Less often, cancer spreads to the cerebellum and brain stem.
The symptoms of brain metastases vary depending on which part of the brain is affected. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as brain metastases. See your doctor if you have these symptoms.
The most common symptom of brain metastasis is headache. Headaches may be caused by a tumour pressing on the brain, swelling (called edema), bleeding or hydrocephalus.
Other signs and symptoms of brain metastases include:

• nausea and vomiting
• seizure
• weakness or numbness in parts of the body, such as the face, arms or legs
• problems with memory and confusion
• changes in behaviour and personality
• problems with balance and coordination
• loss of bladder or bowel control (called incontinence)
• problems with speech
• problems with swallowing

Reference:
https://www.oncolink.org/cancers/brain-tumors/brain-metastasis/all-about-brain-metastases
http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/metastatic-cancer/brain-metastases/?region=on

By |Saturday, December 2, 2017|Blog, News|0 Comments

How to prevent seizures

A fever, a brain injury from an accident, a medical condition — anything that changes the normal pattern of activity in your brain can cause a seizure. It can be scary, especially when you don’t know why it happened.
Epileptic seizures are often associated with particular triggers or changes in your daily habits or routine. Here are some common behaviors and factors that may trigger an epileptic seizure:
• Stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues
• Alcohol or drug abuse or the process of quitting alcohol or drugs
• Change in sleep schedules, feeling very tired, or significant sleep deprivation
• A change in medications, or skipping or missing a dose of anti-seizure medication
• Something that overstimulates the senses, like lights that flash brightly, watching television, playing video or computer games, or working on a computer
• Hormonal changes in women, often from pregnancy or menstruation
• Mental strain, such as from solving complex problems
• If you have diabetes, you could have a seizure when your blood sugar drops too low.
Certain dietary changes may also help decrease seizures. The best-known diet is the ketogenic diet, which focuses on eating a higher ratio of fats. It’s considered a low-carb, low-protein diet. Certain vitamins may help reduce the number of seizures caused by epilepsy. Keep in mind that vitamins alone don’t work.
Many people with epilepsy experience aura symptoms about 20 minutes before a seizure occurs. You may notice unusual smells, see strange lights, or have blurry vision.

Reference:
https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/understanding-seizures-prevention#1
https://www.everydayhealth.com/epilepsy/preventing-epilepsy-seizures.aspx
https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-treatments-epilepsy#diet4
https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/triggers-seizures

By |Wednesday, November 29, 2017|Blog, News|0 Comments

Helping a Person During a Seizure

If you see someone who is having a seizure, stay calm. Although seizures seem to last a long time, they usually do not last more than 60 to 90 seconds. Time the seizure, if you can. If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or the person seizing is pregnant (no matter how long the seizure lasts), call or other emergency services immediately.

A seizure can be terrifying to watch, especially if you’ve never seen one before. A seizure temporarily interferes with muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness. It may cause a person’s entire body to shake violently for a few seconds to a few minutes, and he or she may lose consciousness.

Seizures can be mild to severe, and they affect people differently. Even though you may feel helpless around someone having a seizure and find it difficult to watch, there are many things you can do to help.

How to help during a seizure

  • Protect the person from injury. Keep him or her from falling if you can, or try to guide the person gently to the floor.
  • Try to move furniture or other objects that might injure the person during the seizure.
  • If the person is having a seizure and is on the ground when you arrive, try to position the person on his or her side so that fluid can leak out of the mouth. But be careful not to apply too much pressure to the person’s body.
  • Do not force anything, including your fingers, into the person’s mouth.
  • Do not try to hold down the person. This can cause injury, such as a dislocated shoulder.
  • Loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
  • Put a pillow or something soft under the head.
  • How to help after a seizure
  • Check the person for injuries.
  • If you could not turn the person onto his or her side during the seizure, do so when the seizure ends and the person is more relaxed.
  • If the person is having trouble breathing, use your finger to gently clear his or her mouth of any vomit or saliva. If this does not work, call for emergency help.
  • Loosen tight clothing around the person’s neck and waist.
  • Provide a safe area where the person can rest.
  • Do not offer anything to eat or drink until the person is fully awake and alert.
  • Stay with the person until he or she is awake and familiar with the surroundings. Most people will be sleepy or confused after a seizure.

You may be able to provide valuable feedback to the doctor treating the person having the seizure. Try to remember:

  • How the person’s body moved.
  • How long the seizure lasted.
  • How the person acted before the seizure.
  • How the person acted immediately after the seizure.
  • Whether the person suffered any injuries from the seizure.

Call or other emergency services immediately if:

  • The person having a seizure stops breathing for longer than 30 seconds. After calling or other emergency services, begin rescue breathing.
  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes. (The person may have entered a life-threatening state of prolonged seizure called status epilepticus.)
  • The person seizing is pregnant (no matter how long the seizure lasts).
  • More than one seizure occurs within 24 hours.
  • The person having a seizure does not respond normally within 1 hour.
  • The person has new symptoms, such as trouble walking, speaking, or thinking clearly.
  • The person has a fever.
  • A seizure occurs after the person complains of a sudden, severe headache.
  • A seizure follows a head injury.
  • A person with diabetes has a seizure. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or very high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can cause seizures in a person who has diabetes.
  • A seizure occurs after eating poison or breathing fumes.
  • The person complains of severe pain after waking up or develops a fever within 24 hours of the seizure.

Reference:

https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/tc/helping-a-person-during-an-epileptic-seizure-topic-overview#1

By |Wednesday, November 22, 2017|Blog, News|0 Comments