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Avatar universal

brain tumor

My 48 year old sister was diagnosed with a low grade small brain tumor yesterday, 3 May 2010.  Up until a couple of days before she had shown no signs of illness.  Infact shes the healthiest person I know.  She doesnt smoke goes to the gym regularly and eats very healthily.  The only stressful thing in her life is her job, which she loves, shes a headteacher/principal of a large school.  The first sign anything was wrong was on the friday night she'd gone to bed and had just gone to sleep when her partner realised her breathing had changed, when he checked on her she appeared to be having a seizure.  She wasnt aware of this and was quite surprised to find she was at the local hospital.  They did a ct scan which appeared normal and she was released the next day feeling well.  The following day she was preparing the evening meal when she just collapsed once again having a much more severe seizure.  This time she was taken to a specialist hospital where they at first dx a stroke.  She'd lost feeling down one side of her body, couldnt speak and was unable to remember her birthday etc.  They did another ct scan which showed up a shadow so they did a mri and was dx with a small tumor in the frontal lobe affecting her speech, memory etc.  They have given her medication to control the seizures and released her telling her to have another mri in 4 weeks when theyll decide what treatment is needed.  They may do a biopsy to find out what kind of cells are there and possibly surgery.  If not surgery what other kind of treatment is there?  Cant they just remove it or is it to dangerous?  What is the prognosis?  We're going out of our minds with worry and the thought of waiting in this limbo for several weeks seems cruel.  Especially as 4 days ago she was excited at the prospect of starting her new job nxt month and was as healthy as ever.
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Avatar universal
They are waiting to do a second MRI to find out if the tumor has any changes to it, which directs the diagnosis to some degree.  But I'm with you, looks like since she has seized one day and another day she passed out, that they'd go ahead and plan for surgery.  The surgery is indeed dangerous, in that anytime you go into the brain, which is a very sensitive organ to intrusion, the operation alone will sometimes affect nearby parts of the brain.  

Many people have tumors in their brains that physicians decide to leave there if they are not causing serious problems...altho your sister has had some significant problems.  But anyway, these are usually slow-growing benign tumors, hence the waiting to see if her tumor changes in size.  You asked what other treatments besides surgery, and that would include chemo or radiation to perhaps reduce the size of the tumor, so it would stop causing her to have symptoms.  But I think what's going to happen, and should happen, is they will take into account her symptoms, and since it is a small tumor, it must be pushing on an important part of the brain, thus causing her to seize and pass out, and so they will remove it whether it's benign or cancerous or getting larger or not, in preference to simply trying to reduce its size, altho that is not beyond the realm of a perfectly sensible path to take.  

But by all means, have the MRI radiology report and pictures forwarded to a second neurosurgeon as a consult for you, and see would he move any quicker on this tumor, or see if he agrees with the plan your sister's current surgeons are going with.  As for prognosis, one never knows these things, brain surgery being risky, and also, even tho the MRI is a powerful diagnostic tool, until the surgeon gets in there and has a look, they don't really know the extent or kind of injury that has taken place in there.  But let us be hopeful, perhaps it is indeed a small tumor found early and is not cancer, and it will come out easy without injuring nearby parts of the brain, and she will never again have the risk of seizure or passing out, altho it sometimes takes a while for a patient to get over brain surgery.

As for her job, those things can wait, which will probably be the case.  While her employers will need SOMEone to do the job, nevertheless if they really want her the most, they will allow circumstance to run its course and bring her on when she's ready, just like nothing had happened.  But I'd be worried sick, too, waiting is an awful thing when it comes to health issues, but at the very least they did figure out what was going on right away and didn't chalk it up to seizures and send her on her way, with meds covering up the real problem, and the tumor could have grown to where it became a REAL BIG problem down the road!
1093617 tn?1279302002
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Thank you for your question. Brain tumors if they are benign may remain asymptomatic for long years. But if it is large it can cause headache, vision problems, hormonal imbalance, paralysis, seizures and gait disorders. Therefore, surgical intervention is essential to remove the large tumors and if permanent damage needs to be avoided. Prognosis completely depends upon size and type of tumor. Craniotomy, needle aspiration and cerebral shunts are common surgical treatment that may help.  Please consult a neurologist right away in this regard. Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Thanks for taking the time to reply.  I will certainly pass the information on to my sister and see where we go from there.

She has now started to hear things, for example, she can hear birdsong or a tune or one of her children calling to her over and over in her head.  Shes also started to forget things shes just said, or things that have just happened.  She has got an out-patient appointment next week with the neurologist so she will discuss these new symptons then.  She also has a strange fluttering sensation which travels up the right side of her body and into the right side of her face.  This happens every 2-3 hours and only lasts for a minute but she has to sit down or she feels like she will fall down and she briefly loses her speech when it reaches her face.
Avatar universal
I too was a very healthy person when a brain tumor was discovered on the base of my brain stem 15 years ago.  Surgery was the only option and while it is a very trying time you can pass on some hope to your sister.  Mine was successfully removed and although I have MRI's to check the status of whether it has grown back, everything is back to normal.  The tumor could have been growing for a very long time or just a short period.  Unfortunately there is no way of telling.  I can tell you though that I have met an incredible number of people who have  successfully gone through brain surgery and the fact I have met them speaks volumes.  Give your sister my best and good luck to your family.
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