A BRAIN tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells in the brain. The skull, which encloses the brain, is very rigid, and any growth inside such a restricted space can cause problems. Brain tumors can be cancerous or non-cancerous, but how can you spot one? These signs could signal the condition.
Although brain cancer can be a scary diagnosis, you may be able to stop cancer in its tracks if you seek treatment quickly and are aware of the warning signs.
Here are eight major symptoms of brain tumors:
Headaches can be caused by many factors, such as dehydration or lack of sleep. But headaches also signal a possible brain tumor. About half of patients with a brain tumor experience headaches that worsen with time. If your headache is caused by a brain tumor, it may worsen while coughing, completing exercise, or changing positions during the day or after waking up in the morning.
Seizures are common for patients with a brain tumor, especially in older adults. Seizures will occur in 20%–45% of patients throughout the course of the disease. A seizure is often the first sign that you have a brain tumor.
3. Weakness or Numbness
A brain tumor in your cerebrum, the outer part of the brain that controls movement, can cause weakness or paralysis on one side of the body. This happens over a longer period of time with a brain tumor, whereas weakness or paralysis on one side of the body would be a sudden onset symptom of a stroke.
4. Nausea and Vomiting
Some brain tumors can destroy the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain that regulates hormone production throughout the body. This causes low levels of the body’s necessary hormones, such as cortisol, thyroid, and hormones. These reduced hormone levels result in nausea and vomiting.
5. Vision problems
Tumors in certain locations of the brain can cause vision problems, such as blurred vision, crossed eyes, double vision, and partial or complete loss of vision.
6. Balance Problems
Tumors in or near the cranial nerves can cause balance issues. Balance problems can include difficulty walking, dizziness, clumsiness, and loss of coordination.
7. Personality changes
Brain tumors in the frontal lobes and medial frontal structures can change your mood and behavior. These personality changes may include increased aggression, abusive behavior, anger, and anxiety.
The presence of a brain tumor may make you feel weak or exhausted, even after ample sleep. Fatigue is very common in patients with brain cancer. Fatigue-related to brain cancer is more severe than normal fatigue and less likely to be resolved by rest.
Can You Survive a Brain Tumor?
The answer is yes, especially when discovered early. Brain tumor survival rates vary, but developing treatments are improving patient survival outcomes.
If you experience one or more of the eight symptoms of brain tumors, you may need to speak to your physician about a neurologic exam and/or screening tests to confirm a diagnosis. Your physician may order an MRI or CT scan to search for a tumor.
Because brain tumor symptoms can mimic symptoms of other diseases, it’s important to reach out to your health care provider immediately about any concerns. If a tumor is found, your provider will recommend the best type of treatment to address it.