Imagine the world suddenly becomes infested with zombies.
They are everywhere and it’s difficult to avoid them. Everyone is being eaten alive by these horrible creatures; men, women and even children. It’s a terrible situation and you’re scared for your life.
The government releases a message saying that there is a safe house somewhere in the city open to people. A place that protects you from the attacks of these zombies. A haven.
You have two options. Struggle to get to that safe house or remain where you are. If you make the journey to the safe house, there’s no guarantee you would get there safely. You could die on the way. But at the same time, there’s also a chance you’ll make it there alive. If you remain where you are, it’s for sure you’re going to die. What would you do?
It sucks that there are zombies and there’s nothing anybody can do about it immediately. But in the mean time, making it to that safe house is the safest and most reasonable decision anybody can make and it’ll be foolish to remain in your house simply because “you might die on the way”.
Let’s get back to the real world.
Brain tumor exists and infact, the world is under an attack. It’s the cause of 2% of all cancer deaths yearly and it’s worse than a zombie attack because it comes silently like a thief in the night.
Unlike a zombie that you can recognize from its abnormal look and desperate cry for attention, a brain tumor can be hard to recognize. It is a mass that occurs in the brain. It is deadly for the simple reason that it is not supposed to be there. A classical example of being at the wrong place at the wrong time( there is no right time).
A brain tumor could be malignant (which means cancerous) or benign (which means non-cancerous) . It is also classified into primary and secondary brain tumor. A primary brain tumor originates in the brain and is usually benign. A secondary brain tumor is a tumor with an origin somewhere other than the brain and is usually malignant. This means that a person who has breast cancer could have a secondary brain tumor as a result. Scary.
There are a wide range of signs and symptoms of a brain tumor depending on the type, size and location of the tumor. However, common symptoms include
- Persistent headaches that are worse in the morning
- blurred vision or double vision
- seizures (especially in adults)
- weakness of a limb or part of the face
- a change in mental functioning
- memory loss
- difficulty writing or reading
- changes in the ability to hear, taste, or smell
- decreased alertness, which may include drowsiness and loss of consciousness
- difficulty swallowing
- dizziness or vertigo
- eye problems, such as drooping eyelids and unequal pupils
- uncontrollable movements
- hand tremors
- loss of balance
- loss of bladder or bowel control
- numbness or tingling on one side of the body
- trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying
- changes in mood, personality, emotions, and behavior
- difficulty walking
- muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg
Remember the journey to the safe house that common sense forces you to make during the zombie attack? Well that journey is a trip to your doctor to report any signs of a brain tumor. Early detection and intervention is not a guarantee that a person would survive a brain tumor, but non-detection and non-intervention is an almost absolute guarantee that a person would not survive (almost because I believe in miracles. Do you?)
A trip to the doctor opens the door for new developments. Many tests such as a skull X-ray, a CT scan, an MRI, a biopsy and so on will be done all in a bid to answer the following questions. Where is the location of this tumor? What is the size of the tumor? How fast is it growing? What type of tumor is it? What body functions is it impinging on? What is the best approach to treatment? Can it be completely removed? What are the risks involved in removing this tumor?
Every question answered draws the medical team one step closer to effectively managing this condition. Most times, the treatment of a brain tumor involves a surgical procedure to remove the tumor and if it is malignant, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are prescribed.
Anybody can have a brain tumor, although
The Male sex,
People with a family history of brain tumor,
People who have had exposure to radiation and
People with a history of head injury
Are more predisposed to having a brain tumor.
In a nutshell,
- Report any signs and symptoms to your doctor.
- No one is safe.
- While spiritual intervention is not frowned upon, it cannot replace the role of medical intervention
- Having a surgery is not equivalent to death
- There have been many successful cases of the removal of brain tumor, even in Nigeria.
- A brain tumor is not the end of the world.
- Early detection is key.
Join the brain tumor awareness walk coming up on the 3rd of November 2018 in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and lend a voice to creating more awareness for this menace.
For more information about brain tumor, kindly visit https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor
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