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Alarming surge of brain tumours: Is India prepared for the oncoming challenge?

Raheel Shah
Wednesday, July 26, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

India's healthcare system is facing a major problem as a result of the worrisome rise in brain tumour cases in recent years. Brain tumours, which are abnormal cell growths in the brain, can have terrible consequences for both the patient and their family. Concerns have been expressed regarding whether India is effectively equipped to address this expanding public health issue in light of the increase in brain tumour incidence.

Due to the alarming increase in brain tumour incidence in recent years, India's healthcare system is currently experiencing significant issues. For the patient and their family, brain tumours, which are abnormal cell growths in the brain, may have catastrophic effects. A concern has been raised over India's ability to properly handle this growing public health issue in view of the rise in the prevalence of brain tumours.

The difficulties brought on by the rise in brain tumours must be addressed in several ways. It calls for raising risk factor knowledge, early diagnosis, and accessibility to cutting-edge diagnostic equipment. It is also essential to have a vast network of treatment centres with specialised expertise, modern amenities, and trained medical staff. Medical researchers, physicians, and politicians must work together to advance research efforts, investigate cutting-edge medicines, and improve patient outcomes.

Rising incidence of brain tumors in India
Over the past decade, India has witnessed a significant increase in the number of brain tumour cases reported. According to recent studies, brain tumours have emerged as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among the Indian population. The prevalence is not limited to a specific age group or gender, affecting both children and adults.

The healthcare industry is concerned about the increase in brain tumour cases in India. A complicated and possibly fatal illness, brain tumours are characterised by abnormal cell development in the brain. According to recent data, incidences are rapidly rising across the nation and are impacting people of all ages. This worrying trend is influenced by a number of variables, including ageing populations, changing lifestyles, exposure to pollutants in the environment, and genetic susceptibility.

Beyond affecting a patient's physical health, brain tumours have a huge negative influence on their quality of life and place a significant burden on their relatives and carers. The Indian healthcare system must be ready to tackle this expanding problem by concentrating on several fronts. Increasing awareness of risk factors, encouraging early detection through routine screenings, and assuring access to cutting-edge diagnostic methods are some of the steps in this direction.

The development of specialised clinics, the bolstering of treatment facilities, and the improvement of healthcare professionals' knowledge in the treatment of brain tumours are further essential stages. To advance research, enhance treatment results, and assist patients on their journey, collaboration between researchers, physicians, politicians, and patient advocacy organisations is also crucial. India can better serve people affected by this complicated condition by tackling the increased prevalence of brain tumours in a comprehensive way.

Potential contributing factors
In recent years, India has witnessed a concerning increase in the incidence of brain tumours. These malignant growths within the brain can be life-threatening and have a significant impact on individuals and their families. This article aims to delve into the contributing factors behind the rise of brain tumours in India in 2023, shedding light on various aspects that may be influencing this alarming trend.

Environmental factors
Several environmental factors have been identified as potential contributors to the rise of brain tumours in India. These factors include exposure to harmful chemicals, industrial pollutants, pesticides, and electromagnetic radiation. Rapid industrialization and urbanization, along with inadequate environmental regulations, could potentially expose individuals to these risk factors.

Genetic predisposition
Genetic factors can play a role in the development of brain tumours. Certain genetic mutations and inherited conditions, such as neurofibromatosis and Li-Fraumeni syndrome, can increase the risk of brain tumour formation. Genetic predisposition coupled with environmental factors may exacerbate the likelihood of developing brain tumours in susceptible individuals.

Lifestyle and dietary factors
Changes in lifestyle and dietary habits over the years may also contribute to the rise in brain tumours. The adoption of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy dietary choices, and an increase in the consumption of processed foods have been associated with various health issues, including cancer. Lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition may collectively contribute to the increased incidence of brain tumours.

Diagnostic advancements
Improved diagnostic techniques and increased awareness may also play a role in the apparent rise of brain tumour cases. Advancements in medical technology, such as high-resolution imaging techniques like MRI and CT scans, allow for more accurate detection and diagnosis of brain tumours. This increased detection could contribute to the perception of a rise in brain tumour cases, as more people are being diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The rise in brain tumour cases in India in 2023 can be attributed to a combination of environmental factors, genetic predisposition, lifestyle choices, diagnostic advancements, and improved reporting and data collection. Further research and investigation are needed to gain a more thorough understanding of these factors and their interplay. Efforts should be directed toward promoting public awareness, implementing stricter environmental regulations, and encouraging healthier lifestyles to help combat this growing health concern in the country.

Increased awareness, early detection are required
One of the primary challenges in addressing brain tumours is the lack of awareness among the general population. Many symptoms of brain tumours, such as headaches, dizziness, and cognitive changes, are often dismissed or attributed to other causes. This delays diagnosis and treatment, leading to unfavorable outcomes for patients.

To combat this issue, it is imperative to educate the public about the early signs and symptoms of brain tumours, emphasizing the importance of seeking medical attention promptly. Awareness campaigns, informative websites, and community outreach programmes can play a vital role in spreading knowledge and empowering individuals to take timely action.

Investing in advanced diagnostic techniques and treatment facilities
In order to fulfil the rising demand for brain tumour detection and treatment, India's healthcare system must change and expand. Investing in cutting-edge diagnostic methods like positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can help with early detection and precise diagnosis. Due to their intricacy and possible hazards, brain tumours present substantial obstacles. We can completely change the way brain tumours are detected and treated by investing money in the creation of cutting-edge diagnostic instruments and modern treatment facilities.

With the use of cutting-edge diagnostic methods like molecular profiling and genetic testing, it is possible to precisely identify the unique traits of a brain tumour. This makes it possible for medical practitioners to customise treatment approaches depending on the distinct genetic characteristics of each patient's tumour. Research and technological investments that increase diagnostic accuracy enable earlier identification and intervention, improving prognoses and increasing survival rates.

Collaboration and research
Addressing the challenge of brain tumours requires collaboration among various stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and research institutions. Sharing knowledge, conducting research studies, and fostering innovation can lead to better understanding, improved treatment options, and enhanced patient outcomes.

Furthermore, increased funding for research into brain tumour causes, prevention, and treatment is vital. Encouraging partnerships between academia and industry can drive advancements in therapeutics, targeted therapies, and personalized medicine approaches, offering hope for better prognoses and improved quality of life for patients.

The impending crisis of brain tumours in India demands urgent attention and swift action. The alarming surge in the incidence of brain tumours poses a significant threat to public health and calls for immediate measures to address this pressing issue. With brain tumours becoming the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country, it is imperative to recognize the urgency and gravity of the situation.

The consequences of ignoring this crisis are dire. Delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment options contribute to high mortality rates and poor patient outcomes. Many individuals with brain tumours are often unaware of the symptoms or hesitate to seek medical help, leading to late-stage diagnoses when the disease has already progressed. The lack of awareness and limited access to advanced diagnostic tools and specialized treatment facilities further exacerbate the problem.

(Author is MD at BDR Pharmaceuticals)


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