‘Persistent headaches may be nasty tumours’ - GulfToday

Persistent headaches may be nasty tumours


A multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses and staff attended to the pre-surgery to post-surgery needs of the patient from Saudi Arabia.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Haytham Eloqayli raised the warning on Wednesday when he led a team of specialists from Emirates Specialty Hospital-Dubai Healthcare City, present to the media a case of a 45-year-old tourist from Saudi Arabia, under the knife for 11 hours, for the urgent extraction of what biopsy had revealed as “benign meningioma.”

Meningiomas are slow-growing “tumour/s that form on membranes that cover the brain and spinal cords inside the skull.”

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 90 per cent of meningiomas are benign and non-cancerous. The over-all five-year survival rate for patients with benign meningioma is 70 per cent compared to the 55 per cent suffering from the malignant type.  

“I communicated with the husband this morning. He said his wife (has been enjoying) the malls,” said Eloqayli.

He also repeated what members of the medical community has been echoing, even as timely intervention and quick calculated response can save lives: early diagnosis is much better for early minimal sure and treatment.

Eloqayli recounted details of the case, saying it was last February when the woman was rushed to the hospital and at the emergency room demonstrated garbled speech, dimming of vision, immobility, difficulty in breathing and “decreased level of consciousness.”

Signs and symptoms of individuals who encounter accidents and other critical traumas that “death could occur at any minute.”

Eventual four magnetic resonance image (MRI) scans showed a mass occupying one-fourth of the brain severely affecting the blood flow, seriously impacting other parts of the nervous system and which had nearly her cost life.

“Headache is so common we tend to ignore. We should not,” Eloqayli said.

“We do not know what caused the tumour but generally, tumours are due to genetics, family history. It could also be radiation,” he answered from the repeated questions of the journalists.

From the consequent discussions he had with the husband and siblings for the appropriate necessary medical approach, he learnt that the patient had been complaining of persistent headaches in the past two years.  

The woman was able to cope, shooed away the headaches as ordinary but observed to undergo fits of depression alongside bouts of challenges with regards her sight and speech, among other signs and symptoms of an underlying medical condition.  

Surgery was determined to be the treatment. However, due to the sensitivity of the location and positioning of the mass inside the brain that any miscalculation may lead to disfigurement or paralysis, the patient was provided with the two-day pre-operation procedures.

“The patient was an urgent case. We had to make sure everything was (on the right track),” Anaesthesia and Pain Management chief Dr. Ali Zahran said.

She was confined in the intensive care unit until her post-surgery state was stabilized. She was discharged after two weeks before the return trip to Saudi Arabia.  

Going back to the biopsy results, Eloqayli said this was a 6X5X5 centimeter benign meningioma, “the size of a small apple” whose growth could have been prevented and could have not endangered the woman’s life, if immediately detected.   

“Again, do not ignore the headaches. We should not fear the tests,” he said, adding that he had advised the patient to go for the yearly MRI.

“They (couple) would be visiting us after Ramadan,” Eloqayli said.


Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology is the world’s leading professional organization for physicians and oncology professionals caring for people with cancer.

To improve patient care, ASCO advocates for increased federal funding for research, greater health care access, value in cancer care, and payment reform.

ASCO has endorsed the Preventing Opportunities for Teen E-Cigarette and Tobacco Addiction (PROTECT) Act, which would authorize $100 million in funding each year for 5 years for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative to address the alarming rise in use of e-cigarettes by adolescents.

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