Child’s behaviour could be result of a brain tumour

Parents usually get so carried away by the societal ways that they tend to overlook their child as an individual.

The peer pressure, often as an effect of expectations, many times takes away the childhood out of children these days and the parents as well as the teachers are responsible for it too. A 10-year-old boy, who used to be irregular in school, suffered at the hands of a similar scenario.

Rahul (name changed), was put in a boarding school 7-8 months back and was mostly seen as a child not listening to anyone. His teachers also had a lot of complaints against him. Taking the advice of the teachers and neighbours, Rahul’s parents admitted him to a boarding school hoping to get him back on track. But his irregularities worsened at the boarding school and he was found to be more disoriented with little ability to concentrate. He regularly complained of severe headaches and vomit but the teachers took it as escapism from classes to go back home. One fine day, his aunt visited him at the boarding school and saw him down with fever. Rahul was taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with Typhoid fever.

For further investigation, Rahul’s aunt brought him to Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield. Rahul was presented with recurrent episodes of vomiting for a few months which were put down to him avoiding school + boarding school. He also had an abnormal gait which was put down to him being naughty and on examination had a squint. All of these symptoms prompted an urgent MRI scan ‘which revealed that he had been struggling with a brain tumour.

“It was not a sudden problem. The child had been showing symptoms but no one noticed. He used to sway while walking but the people around assumed he is trying to imitate from movies and he was rather punished for it. Due to this delay of 7-8 months, the tumour had grown near the brain stem,” informed Dr. Suruchi, Consultant–Pediatrics, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield.

Dr. Tejus M N Rao, Consultant – Neurosurgery and Endovascular Neuro Intervention, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield said, “For treatment, Rahul’s skull was opened to perform craniotomy, which is the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain, and through excision, the tumour was completely removed. Post the surgery, Rahul was in ventilator for a day and then in ICU for 2 days.  As his condition improved, he was shifted to ward on third day. Having stayed in the hospital for 5 days, Rahul was successfully treated with surgery and is now on a regular follow up.”


Dr. Tejus M N Rao also added that it is highly important to educate parents as well as teachers about the possibilities of the tumour and the signs that they must look out for. As seen in the above mentioned case, neither the teachers, nor the parents could identify any of the symptoms. Along with awareness, timely response to the symptoms and receiving the treatment on time is of utmost importance. Certain brain tumours are well treatable if diagnosed on time. In Rahul’s case, the delay of over six months leads to the enhancement of the tumour in the child. Had he received early medical aid at the initial stage, things would have been much better.

Depending on the brain tumour type, size, location and growth rate, the symptoms of a brain tumour are likely to vary significantly in children. Some of these signs can often be mistaken or ignored owing to their similarity with the symptoms of certain other health conditions. While brain tumours can occur at any age, the ones that occur in infants or children are quite different from adult brain tumours; in terms of response to treatment as well as the type of cells. Brain tumours, however, can occur at any age but still generally remain very rare among children.

It becomes fundamental for people especially parents and teachers to be aware and informed about the possible symptoms of the problem, since they are at the closest and in most contact with children. However, general or casual the symptoms might appear on the outside, close monitoring is critical as even slightest ignorance and delay can lead to fatality in cases of tumour. The need to provide medical aid at the earliest cannot be stressed enough, there should be no delay in reaching out for proper diagnosis to treat the actual problem from its roots.

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