Archive for October, 2020

Brain tumour: Myths & Facts

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

A brain tumour is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that can disrupt proper brain function. There are two main types of tumours namely, malignant and benign(non-malignant) tumours. Benign brain tumours are non-cancerous, while malignant primary brain tumours are cancerous, globally less than one-third of brain tumours are cancerous. This disease can occur at any age. The incidence of this neurological disorder in India ranges from 5 to 10 per 100,000 population with an increasing trend. Twenty percent of these cases are seen in children. Increasing the awareness, busting the many myths, early diagnosis and timely treatment is the right way to fight brain tumour.

Symptoms of Brain tumour
The following is a list of common symptoms which, alone or combined, can be caused by a brain tumour (malignant or non-malignant):

  • Headaches-early morning headache
  • Morning nausea and vomiting
  • Behavioural changes
  • Cognitive changes
  • Dizziness or unsteadiness
  • Speech disturbances
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Hearing impairment
  • Seizures
  • Weakness or Paralysis

Myths and facts of Brain tumour
Brain tumour is one of the most challenging and complex cancers and needs a multidisciplinary approach for treatment and recovery. Myths and misconceptions about brain tumour, its risk factors, how it spreads, and treatment options are widespread. Let us break down some of the most common myths and misconceptions about brain tumours:

  • Myth 1:  All brain tumours are cancerous.
    Fact: Only one-third of brain tumours are cancerous. Most of the non-cancerous brain tumours can be treated completely.
  • Myth 2: Brain tumour always originates in the brain.
    Fact: A brain tumour can originate in the brain and can also be a result of metastasis of cancer from other parts of the body like kidney, breast, lungs, intestine etc. The former is called primary tumours whereas the second type of brain tumour is called the secondary tumour which is quite frequent than the first one.
  • Myth 3: Brain cancer doesn’t affect young people.
    Fact: Brain tumours can occur at any age. Newborns have also been found to have a brain tumour. Brain tumour is the second most common cancer among children in our country.
  • Myth 4: Brain tumour runs in families.
    Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that people who have family members with brain tumors are more likely to get brain tumour.
  • Myth 5: Using Mobile phones causes brain tumour.
    Fact: There is no research evidence to suggest that mobile phone or any other type of radiation causes brain tumour but long exposures to radiation can have severe negative effects on the overall health and hence, should not be taken lightly.
  • Myth 6: Brain Cancer is a very common condition.
    Fact: Overall, the chance that a person will develop a malignant tumor of the brain in his or her lifetime is less than 1%.
  • Myth 7: Lifestyle modification can prevent Brain Tumors.
    Fact: An individual’s lifestyle does not lead to brain tumours and hence lifestyle modifications cannot prevent brain tumours. However, making healthy lifestyle choices help benefit your overall health.  Daily exercise, a balanced diet that is high in fibre, staying away from chewing tobacco, smoking and alcohol is good for health.
  • Myth 8: All brain tumour patients have the same signs and symptoms.
    Fact: Every person diagnosed with a brain tumour will have different symptoms depending on the size, site and grade of tumour. While some people do not develop symptoms other may have symptoms that worsen over time eventually leading to a diagnosis.
  • Myth 9: Treatment for a brain tumour is standard and accessible to anyone affected.
    Fact: Treatment of Brain tumours depends on the site, size and type of tumor. It includes Surgery, Radiation and Chemotherapy. These are available only in Tertiary centers.
  • Myth 10: Frequent headaches and blurred vision indicate brain tumour.
    Fact: Not all patients with headaches and blurred vision have brain tumour. There are hundreds of causes of headaches which needs proper investigation.

At Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital we have a dedicated team of neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, paediatric oncologists and radiation oncologist specialised in Neurooncolgy to diagnose and treat brain tumours. Our Centre for Neurosciences is equipped with the latest in world class technology that assists the doctors to achieve maximal safe resection of all tumours. Our highly experienced team of specialists performs over 1373 brain tumour surgeries successfully . The team uses the latest operative advances with navigation, awake surgery techniques, neurophysiology monitoring with MEP and SSEP. Please find below our website link for further details:

This blog is written by Dr. Abhaya Kumar, Head, Neurosurgery and Consultant, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. For more information about Dr. Kumar please click here

World Stroke Day

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds, or when there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. The rupture or blockage prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain’s tissues. Without oxygen, brain cells and tissue become damaged and begin to die within minutes. Every year, approximately 1.8 million people suffer from stroke, which is the second most common cause of death after coronary artery disease (CAD) globally. Stroke is the second commonest cause of death in India. Nearly one stroke case is reported every 40 seconds and one stroke death every four minutes in India. Amongst survivors, stroke is also the most prevalent cause of chronic adult disability.

Symptoms of Stroke
If you or a loved one is having a stroke, seek immediate medical help. When it comes to a stroke, time lost is brain lost. The more time that passes between the onset of a stroke and treatment, the more likely that brain functions are permanently lost. 

Remember FAST if you spot a stroke:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call emergency services

Some of the additional signs and symptoms of a stroke may include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

The prognosis and recovery for a person that has suffered a stroke depend upon the location of the injury to the brain.

Types of Stroke
The type of stroke you have affects your treatment and recovery. The three main types of stroke are:

  • Ischemic stroke – An ischemic stroke happens when blood flow through the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain becomes blocked.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – A hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The leaked blood puts too much pressure on brain cells, which damages them.
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is sometimes called a “mini-stroke.” The blood flow to the brain is blocked for only a short time—usually no more than 5 minutes.Recognizing and treating TIAs can lower the risk of a major stroke.

Stroke prevention
Some stroke risk factors can’t be controlled. These include gender, age, and family history. However, up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes and controlling your health conditions. Here is what you must do to:

  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and almost half of adults suffer from it. Get yours checked regularly.
  • Diabetes: High blood sugar damages your blood vessels, control your diabetes levels with medicine and lifestyle changes.
  • Heart disease: Coronary artery disease or atrial fibrillation could contribute to stroke. Get treated for your heart condition.
  • Abnormal cholesterol: When you take in more cholesterol than your body can use, it builds up, clogging arteries—including those in your brain. Control your cholesterol levels.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases your risk for stroke as obesity is linked to high cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Unhealthy diet: Choosing healthy foods can help prevent stroke. Eat foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables to increase your fibre intake.
  • Not exercising: Regular exercise helps you stay at a healthy weight and can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Smoking: Cigarette contains toxic chemicals that damage your heart and blood vessels, which increases your risk for stroke. Quit smoking.
  • Drinking alcohol:  Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure, stay away from alcohol.
  • Stress: Stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Learn to manage your stress better by practicing meditation, staying positive, listening to music or taking up a hobby you enjoy.

Advanced Stroke care
Stroke is one of the largest contributors to increasing health loss in India over the last 30 years. India needs a comprehensive approach for awareness amongst the masses, timely diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation using advanced technologies and expertise.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital has established a comprehensive stroke care programme for the management of acute and chronic stroke patients. The Code Stroke Plan includes a stroke ambulance, emergency care services, neuro-imaging, neurological intensive care unit, neuro-intervention services, neurosurgical services, and a dedicated stroke unit. Our team offers comprehensive acute neurointervention services under a single roof. The Centre for Neurosciences has conducted over 875 brain surgeries for stroke in the past.

We offer a Stroke rehabilitation program that provides an optimal environment for recovery, functional improvement, and reduction in secondary complications and disability. The Multidisciplinary Team of specialists are equipped with these high-end technologies:

  • Gait & Motion Analysis Laboratory
  • Balance Assessment and Training System (BATS)
  • Body-Weight Support Treadmill Gait Training System (BWSTT)

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) is one of the only private hospitals in Mumbai and more so in Western India to have a comprehensive Level-1 Accident & Emergency Department (A&E) for patient care, training and research. The Trauma Centre is reputed to respond the fastest in times of a stroke. that ensures higher recovery chances. Please find below the link to our website:

World Spine Day

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Every fifth Indian in the age group 20-30 suffers from a spinal ailment, which until a decade ago was common among senior citizens. Statistics suggest that there has been a 60 percent rise in spinal problems among the youth. A survey also found that 50 percent of Indian children and teenagers are prone to spinal problems due to the high use of mobile phones. Prolonged sitting in the same posture can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs, a slouched posture further strains the spinal ligaments and causes major pain in the back and neck. Back pain has been a leading cause of absenteeism at the workplace and is also the leading cause of disability worldwide. It is also the second most common reason for visits to a primary care physician

World Spine Day highlights the importance of spinal health and well being. The day aims to spread awareness about healthy spine practices like physical activity, good posture, responsible lifting, and healthy working conditions for people.

Symptoms of spine disorders
Do you frequently find yourself uncomfortable and distracted by back or neck pain? Has your ability to work or participate in the activities you enjoy been diminished by an underlying spine problem? Here are some common signs and symptoms of a spinal cord disorder that need attention from a specialist:

  • Abnormally rounded shoulders or back
  • Back or neck pain that can be sharp and stabbing, dull and aching
  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Pain radiating in the arms or legs
  • Stiffness or tightness
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the arms or legs

Risk factors for spine disorders
Spine disorders have a wide variety of causes depending on the particular condition. However, some factors increase the risk of developing a spine disorder:

  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Low calcium intake
  • Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid disease
  • Overuse from exercise or occupational movement
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive strenuous activities

Spine conditions

Your back or neck pain may be the result of one of the following common spine conditions. Here is a list of some common conditions that need help from a specialist:

  • Herniated Cervical Disc
  • Herniated Lumbar Disc
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Spondylosis
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal fracture
  • Kyphosis
  • Spinal Infections
  • Spinal Osteoarthritis (Spondylosis)
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Scoliosis and Spinal Deformities
  • Spinal Tumors

Keeping your spine healthy
As you get older, you may experience increased aches, pains, and joint stiffness. Start taking care of your spine early for preventive care. Here are a few tips to follow to protect your spine health and maintain its flexibility:

  • Strengthen your core muscles via targeted exercises including aerobics, flexion (bending forward), and extension (bending backward) stretches
  • Avoid putting undue stress on your spine by practicing proper posture
  • Make ergonomic adjustments to your work station
  • Avoid lifting objects that are heavier than 25% of your own body weight
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods and vitamin D
  • Quit smoking
  • Consider buying a better, more supportive mattress
  • Stretch regularly to relax your back and neck muscles
  • Get help for depression as it may lead to backache

Advanced Spine care at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

A number of conditions and injuries can affect the spine, which can damage the vertebrae, cause pain, and limit mobility. Our team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, pain physicians, psychologists, and other specialists have extensive experience in treating even the most complex spinal conditions. We also offer minimally invasive, endoscopic spine surgery. Our experts have successfully conducted over 1902 spine surgeries in the past. The Centre for Neurosciences at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital boasts of world class doctors and is equipped with the latest in cutting edge technology to give you the best possible treatment and improve your quality of life. For more information please visit:

Breast Cancer Awareness

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Breast cancer ranks as the number one cancer among Indian females with a rate as high as 25.8 per 100,000 women and mortality of 12.7 per 100,000 women. One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 4 minutes in India. Almost 50 percent of breast cancer patients in India first visit the doctor when they are in stage 3, and 15-20% of patients visit when they are in phase 4. Low awareness levels about breast cancer, its preventive screening and treatment options contribute to these alarming statistics. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer need the right treatment at the right time for higher chances of recovery.

Breast Cancer: Risk factors
There are a number of factors that make you more prone to getting breast cancer. Here are the most common risk factors:

Risk factors you cannot change

  • Being a woman
  • Age over 50 years
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Gene mutations – BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Early menstruation
  • Late menopause
  • Having dense breasts

Risk factors you can control

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Using hormone replacement therapy

Make conscious efforts every day to live healthy and make wise lifestyle choices to help reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer: Symptoms
The first symptom of breast cancer that most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. See an oncologist for further investigation if you notice any of the below symptoms:

  • A new lump or area of thickened tissue
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • A discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • A rash on or around your nipple
  • A change in the appearance of your nipple

Breast Cancer: Screenings
If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance of survival. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years.

Breast self-examination
All women should check their breasts for lumps, thicknesses and other changes every month. By examining your breasts regularly, you will know how your breasts normally feel. Consult your doctor for any unusual changes.

Mammograms play a key role in early breast cancer detection and help decrease breast cancer deaths. A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Women should get a mammogram once a year beginning at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer or any other risk factors you must start screenings early.

Breast Cancer – Myths & Facts
Myth: Presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 means you will develop breast cancer.
Fact: It’s true that women with one of these genes have a higher risk. However, not everyone with a breast cancer gene will develop breast cancer.

Myth: Having a biopsy will cause breast cancer to spread.
Fact: A biopsy is the surest way to diagnose breast cancer. If the disease spreads, it’s not because of the biopsy.

Myth: A breast cancer diagnosis requires immediate surgery.
Fact: That is not always true and depends on your stage of cancer. Take a second opinion, and make sure you have the right information about all the treatment options available before you start treatment.

Myth: Breast Cancer surgery always results in ugly scars.
Fact: Although breast surgery does involve leaving scars, it’s possible to hide them. Advanced technology, minimally invasive techniques, cosmetology as well as breast reconstruction surgery leave minimal or no scars.

Myth: Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.
Fact: About 80 percent of women with the disease don’t have a family history. There are a lot of other factors that play a role in developing breast cancer.

Treatment at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital
Expert oncologists at our Centre for Cancer work together to help women for screening and early treatment of breast cancer. The Comprehensive Breast Care Unit offers advanced screening, diagnosis, treatment as well as rehabilitation for breast cancer.

Our Centre for Cancer is well-equipped with state-of-the-art radiation machines and daycare chemo suites that provide comprehensive treatment options. Our team of specialists has conducted over 1,100 breast cancer surgeries, of which over 50 percent have been breast conservation surgeries. In addition to breast conservation, commonly performed procedures are modified radical mastectomy with whole breast reconstruction pedicle free flaps/implants using oncoplastic surgery for good cosmesis.

Our team of highly trained specialists follows the model of Evidence-Based Medicine so that our patients can receive the highest level of care in surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy that is prevalent in the world.

If you or a loved one need help for screening, diagnosis, or treatment of breast cancer, meet our experts. Please find below the link for our website:

Get Healthy with a Strong Immunity

Monday, October 12th, 2020

A strong immune system is your body’s defence system and helps individuals fight infections and reduce the risk of contracting highly contagious diseases. The complex system is made up of cells in your skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs that protect your body against potentially harmful pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), and limit damage from non-infectious agents. With COVID-19 persisting all over the world, having a strong immune system is more important than ever. That’s because your immune system defends you against harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that cause colds and the flu.

Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system
Every individual must make their health a priority and work towards building a strong immunity. Follow these health tips to help strengthen your immunity naturally:

  • Have a nutrition-rich diet
    Eat a balanced diet that consists of plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Have a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green varieties. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with immunity-boosting capabilities, including key nutrients such as vitamins A and C.
  • Be physically active
    Remember to exercise regularly; even light exercise will go a long way in releasing the toxins from your body. It is recommended to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your stamina. If you have not started exercising yet, then it is a good time to start. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which has a direct correlation with body immunity.
  • Don’t compromise on sleep
    Sleep is a time when your body produces and distributes key immune cells like cytokines, T cells, and interleukin 12. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system may not do these things as well and weakens your immune system. Maintain a regular sleep schedule and sleep for 7 to 8 hours. Avoid screens and late-night eating before bedtime.
  • Stay hydrated
    Drink up to 8-10 glasses of water every day, to stay hydrated. Hydration will help flush out the toxins from the body and lower the chances of any infections. Coconut water and fresh fruit juices are also other alternatives.
  • De-stress yourself
    Long-term stress leads to chronically elevated levels of the steroid hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels are constantly high, it essentially blocks the immune system from doing its job to protect the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria. Here are a few steps to help relieve your stress:
  • Practice meditation
  • Pursue a hobby
  • Connect with family and friends
  • Take breaks
  • Listen to music
  • Avoid Smoking, alcohol, and other addictive substances
    Certain habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, and substance abuse have a direct correlation on your weakened immunity. High levels of alcohol consumption can weaken your body’s ability to fight infection and slow down your recovery time. The toxic chemicals released by cigarette smoke interfere with the growth and function of your immune cells.
  • Manage your chronic conditions better
    Chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes can affect the immune system and increase the risk of infections. It is essential to take care of your pre-existing conditions and manage them with medicine and precautions.

How good nutrition helps boost your immunity
Good nutrition is fundamental to improving immunity. The immune system is the body’s defence against disease and infection and it has long been established as a factor that influences the function of your immune system. Are you concerned whether you are getting the right amount of nutrients from your diet? Here are a few superfoods that can help boost your immunity: 

  • Vitamin C: This particular vitamin is a crucial participant in the army of immunity. It helps prevent the common cold. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and protects against damage induced by oxidative stress. It is found in citrus fruits like oranges, berries, and vegetables like broccoli, lemon and spinach.
  • Vitamin D: Sunlight is the most natural source of this vitamin however not everyone gets enough sunlight every day. Most people are deficient in Vitamin-D, consult your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement.
  • Zinc: Zinc is a vital component to WBC (white blood corpuscles) which fights infections. Zinc deficiency often makes one more susceptible to flu, cold, and other viral infections. Seafood, lentils and oatmeal are some good sources of this mineral.
  • Turmeric and Garlic: The bright yellow spice, turmeric, contains a compound called curcumin, which boosts the immune function. Garlic has powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties which enhances body immunity.

It is time to help each other to increase the awareness about the right ways to boost their immunity naturally with small lifestyle changes. Your family and your health is largely dependent on your immune system and a strong immunity helps ward off many diseases. Start living better for a healthier and stronger life ahead.