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Brain tumours: what you need to know

April 03, 2017

Last month The Brain Tumour Charity held a ‘Wear It Out’ campaign, raising over £100,000 to help fund further research into the treatment of brain tumours. Their website provides some very useful information on symptoms and treatment, which we would recommend people read.

A brain tumour is a lump in the brain caused by brain cells that grow uncontrollably and divide. There are two types of brain tumours:

  • A primary tumour, which is where the tumour originates in the brain; and,
  • A secondary tumour or metastases, which is when the tumour started somewhere else in the body and spread to the brain.

Within these categories, there are over 130 different primary brain tumours that are named according to where they are located in the brain, how quickly they grow and how fast they spread.

With 10,600 people being diagnosed each year, it is important that people know what symptoms to look out for so that their diagnosis is made as soon as possible. As treatment, and your recovery thereafter, is largely dependent on what stage the tumour is at, it is important that you are diagnosed as early as is possible. The earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat and, hopefully, cure. Unfortunately, in some cases the diagnosis is unnecessarily delayed and this can lead to a poorer prognosis.

Symptoms can vary depending on your age. As an adult you may experience headaches, seizures, nausea, a change in vision and/or tiredness. However, signs of brain tumours can differ from person to person depending on the type of tumour you may have.

In children the symptoms can often imitate those of other, relatively minor, childhood illnesses. Children may experience persistent vomiting, abnormal eye movements, recurring headaches, seizures, behaviour change, blurred vision, delayed puberty, abnormal balance and/or head position.

Tumours are graded from 1 to 4 and the grading depend on how the tumour is likely to behave.

Grade 1 and 2 are low grade tumours which are slow growing, relatively contained with well-defined edges and are unlikely to spread to other parts of the brain. If a low grade tumour is completely removed, it is also less likely to return.

Grade 3 and 4 are high grade tumours which are fast growing, can be referred to as cancerous or malignant growths and are more likely to spread to other parts of the brain. There is also a higher chance of the tumour returning, even if it has been intensively treated.

It is important to be aware of the symptoms, so you can go to your doctor if you are concerned about either yourself or a loved one. The earlier a brain tumour is diagnosed, the better the chances are of treating the cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms of a brain tumour and you see your GP and they do not follow the correct guidelines for investigation and referral, they could be in breach of their duty of care to you.

We deal with all areas of medical negligence. If you think that you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical negligence, we may be able to help. 

Please contact us on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

Further reading:

https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/

Website content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Brain tumours: what you need to know

Gillian Clark

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