New statistics show that the number of people diagnosed with brain tumors has risen by 30 percent in the past 20 years.
According to data from Public Health Scotland, the number rose from 822 in 2000-02, to 1069 in 2017-19.
Dr David Jenkinson, chief scientific officer of the Brain Tumor Charitable Foundation, said: “These alarming numbers show how urgently work is needed to treat this devastating, life-altering disease.”
“While brain tumors remain relatively rare, the incidence has continued to rise significantly over the past two decades, and this unfortunately has not been matched by the significant advances in diagnosis, treatment and survival outcomes seen in many other cancers,” he added.
The charity claims that progress in brain tumors has continued to lag behind the survival improvements seen in other diseases.
Only 12 per cent of UK adults live for five years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, with the disease continuing to cut life expectancy by an average of 27 years – the highest of any other cancer.
So what are those possible symptoms? Remember, none of this automatically means you have a brain tumor, but if you’re concerned, see your doctor. Dr Catherine McBean, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Christie’s in Manchester, one of the hospitals to be called the Tessa Joel Center of Excellence, identifies seven potential signs that may be linked to brain tumors…
If you have a seizure or sudden seizure, you should go to A&E, where an urgent brain scan will be considered.
2. Weakness in the face/arm/leg on one side of the body
This weakness may come on suddenly, such as from a stroke, or it may become gradually more noticeable over a few weeks, for example, dragging your leg or tripping over barriers because you don’t seem to be able to lift your foot properly.
3. Speech disorder has been flagged
Slurred speech, unable to find your words or coming up with wrong words. Struggling to find a word at times is normal. But it would become concerning if it was steadily getting worse over a period of weeks or months, and it was associated with other symptoms.
4. Character change
People with a brain tumor may become steadily more withdrawn or disoriented over a few months, or struggle with tasks they used to do, such as playing a musical instrument or doing online banking.
5. Vision changes
Sometimes, tumors in the brain reduce our ability to see things to one side. This may cause people to hit door frames, not be able to see someone sitting on the left or right side, or clip the side mirrors of parked cars while driving. If you are concerned about vision changes, start by seeing an ophthalmologist who can perform a complete eye exam and refer you to hospital if necessary.
6. Difficulty reading or interpreting words
You may notice that within a few weeks, you increasingly struggle to write emails or send texts, or to figure out what translations or words in a book are saying — you may be able to see the words clearly, but the brain refuses to interpret them. or understand it.
Headache is a symptom most people associate with brain tumors, but it is relatively unusual for a headache to be the only symptom of a brain tumor. When it comes to worrying about brain tumors, doctors talk about “extra headaches,” that is, headaches in addition to other symptoms. Worrying headaches are those that have become “obviously, definitely and progressively worse” over two to three months, and that become associated with some other symptom.
If a headache is the only symptom, it’s usually a headache that’s different from any you’ve had before, and becomes more severe very quickly, over a few weeks. It may be present in the morning, wake you up from sleep, or be associated with nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.