Awareness about the not-much-talked-about Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) can help in the diagnosis and pain-relieving treatment of the disease. These glial tumors, that are found at the base of the brain are most common in children. A related condition called “hydrocephalus” wherein fluid builds-up in the brain also causes pressure in the brain.
These are the major symptoms of DIPG:
Problems with eye movement, vision, and control:
DIPG occurs in the “pons” of the brainstem, causing pressure on the cranial nerves that originate from that part of our brain. These nerves control the facial muscles that are used to move the eyes. Other symptoms of DIPG related to the eyes are double vision, drooping of the eyelids and inability to completely shut the eyes.
Difficulty in swallowing and chewing:
The cranial nerves that originate from the pons, also control the facial muscles which are used to chew and swallow food. Difficulty in performing these two functions are one of the first red flags.
Problems in balance:
The balance system of the human body works when the inner ear, brain, muscles, joints and the eyes function unimpaired together. DIPG hampers their functioning.
It causes headaches, especially in the morning. As the tumor enlarges, it causes pressure and pain in the brain.
Nausea and vomiting:
Both these symptoms are a result of the increased pressure inside the brain.
Other symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, deafness, difficulty in urinating, problems in walking, weakness in the limbs, clumsiness, difficulty in sleeping are also present. Symptoms can get intense a month before diagnosis but can also appear up to six months before. As DIPG is a rapidly-growing tumor the symptoms can get worse quickly. It is advisable to seek medical help as soon as possible.
The Marc Junior Foundation has been dedicated to spreading awareness about DIPG, funding research for its cure and encouraging the participation of the people in helping those facing DIPG. Join our movement. You can also donate to the cause.