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, its 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.
When To See A Doctor
If youve been diagnosed with cancer elsewhere in your body and you start to experience strong headaches, tell your doctor. The cancer may have spread to your brain. Be ready to describe all your symptoms in detail. The nature of your headaches will help your physician make a better treatment plan.
If you have no cancer history, see your doctor or a neurologist if a headache lasts for several days or weeks with little or no relief.
A headache that continues to worsen with no response to traditional pain treatment should also be evaluated. Weight loss, muscle numbness, and sensory changes that accompany a headache should be checked promptly, too.
Changes In Memory Or Thinking
While it’s true that tumors can cause big shifts in a person’s behavior or personality, the types of radical transformations you sometimes hear aboutor see in moviesare uncommon, Schwartz says. People with tumors are more likely to have issues remembering things, to feel confused, or to suffer less-dramatic thinking problems, he says.
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What Are The Grades For Benign And Cancerous Brain Tumors
Doctors group brain tumors by grade. The grade of a tumor refers to the way the cells look under a microscope:
- Grade I: The tissue is benign. The cells look nearly like normal brain cells, and they grow slowly.
- Grade II: The tissue is malignant. The cells look less like normal cells than do the cells in a Grade I tumor.
- Grade III: The malignant tissue has cells that look very different from normal cells. The abnormal cells are actively growing .
- Grade IV: The malignant tissue has cells that look most abnormal and tend to grow quickly.
Cells from low-grade tumors look more normal and generally grow more slowly than cells from high-grade tumors . Over time, a low-grade tumor may become a high-grade tumor. However, the change to a high-grade tumor happens more often among adults than children.
What Are The Common Causes Of A Brain Tumor
The causes of brain tumors are not yet clearly known however, there are common risk factors or triggers that may cause a brain tumor, such as:
- Being overweight or obese increases the risk of certain types of brain tumors.
- An unhealthy lifestyle including smoking and excessive alcohol consumption may trigger abnormal cell growth.
- The risk of getting brain tumors becomes higher with increasing age.
- Repeated exposure to radiation through ionizing radiation, X-rays, and computed tomography scans, power lines, nuclear plants, mobile phones, and cell phone towers may trigger tumors.
- Exposure to certain harmful chemicals may trigger a brain tumor. Examples include diesel exhaust, coal tar volatiles, tobacco smoke, arsenic compounds, cadmium compounds, nickel compounds, and more.
- People who have had cancer such as leukemia as a child have a higher risk of brain tumors as an adult. Adults who have had cancer also may have a chance of getting brain tumors, but further research is needed to confirm this finding.
- In some rare cases, brain tumors may be genetically inherited. If a lot of people in a family have had brain tumors, an individual may be at an increased risk of the condition.
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Can A Brain Tumor Cause Headaches And Seizures
- Brain tumors may be quite dangerous, which is something that all of us are aware of.
- But were you aware that they might sometimes have more subtle symptoms, such as headaches and seizures, in addition to the more prominent ones?
- Here are five indications of a brain tumor that may catch you by surprise.
Consulting A Healthcare Provider
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have persistent symptoms that are concerning you. If you suspect a brain tumor, it is best to see a provider as soon as possible to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
Having a journal of the symptoms you have been experiencing, including frequency and time frame, can help your provider better diagnose you. Aim to bring your notes to appointments to help you remember everything you would like to discuss. Download our Symptom Tracker to bring with you to your appointment.
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Everything Else You Need To Know
What causes a tumor? Schwartz says some genetic disorders can lead to brain tumors. “But the majority of tumors arise in people with no known risk factors or predisposing factors,” he explains. Children and adults over 60 are more likely to develop tumors, but “everyone is at risk at any age,” he adds.
Despite what you may have heard, cell phones are not a known risk factor. “That’s a common misconception, but there’s no compelling evidence that pushes us to consider a link between cell phones and tumors,” he says.
For large or malignant brain tumors, treatments could involve surgery, medications, radiation, or chemotherapy. The good news: Not all brain tumors are serious. “Many tumors are small and benign, and require no treatment,” Schwartz explains. “If we find one, we’ll just monitor it for growth or changes.”
Memory Loss And Confusion
Memory problems can be due to a tumor anywhere in the brain, especially if it affects the frontal or temporal lobe. A tumor affecting the frontal or parietal lobe can also impair reasoning and decision-making. For example, you may find that:
- Its hard to concentrate, and youre easily distracted.
- Youre often confused about simple matters.
- You cant multitask and have trouble planning anything.
- You have short-term memory issues.
This can happen with a brain tumor at any stage. It can also be a side effect of chemotherapy, radiation, or other cancer treatments. These problems can be exacerbated by fatigue.
Mild cognitive problems can happen for a variety of reasons other than a brain tumor. They can be the result of vitamin deficiencies, medications, or mental health conditions, among other things.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Brain Tumor
As a tumor expands in size, it exerts a greater amount of pressure on the skull because of its growing size. This elevated intracranial pressure, often known as an elevated ICP, may be the cause of various symptoms, including the following: Headaches: Although headaches are a typical symptom of having a brain tumor, it is possible that other conditions are the cause of the headaches.
Is It Obvious When You Have A Brain Tumor
The signs of brain tumors are dependent on their size, type, and location. headaches, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, seizures, memory problems, mood and personality changes, balance and walking problems, nausea and vomiting, or changes in speech, vision, or hearing are some of the most common signs.
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Early Warning Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Lesion
Symptoms of a brain lesion depend upon what part of the brain is affected. Large parts of the brain can be involved in some diseases and there may be relatively few symptoms. Alternatively, very tiny lesions may be catastrophic if they occur in a critical part of the brain.
Initial signs and symptoms of a brain lesion are often non-specific and may include:
Symptoms Of A Brain Tumor Headache
In its early stages, a brain tumor may have no noticeable symptoms. Its only when it grows large enough to put pressure on the brain or nerves in the brain that it can start to cause headaches.
For example, waking up frequently with a headache can be a sign of a brain tumor. Keep in mind, however, that other conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea or a hangover, can also cause morning headaches.
But if you start getting frequent headaches, different kinds of headaches, or if the headaches change in severity, take note. These may indicate a brain tumor is present.
Likewise, if youre not a person who usually gets headaches, but you begin experiencing frequent, painful headaches, see a doctor soon.
Other headache symptoms associated with brain tumors may include:
- headaches that wake you up at night
- headache pain that changes as you change positions
- headache pain that doesnt respond to standard pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen , or ibuprofen
- headaches that last for days or weeks at a time
Because the pain can be quite intense, brain tumor headaches are sometimes confused with migraines. However, a migraine attack can also trigger nausea and extreme sensitivity to light. Brain tumor headaches are usually accompanied by other signs.
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Benign Vs Malignant Brain Tumors
Benign brain tumors arenât aggressive and normally donât spread to surrounding tissues, although they can be serious and even life-threatening. Benign brain tumors usually have clearly defined borders and usually arenât deeply rooted in brain tissue. This makes them easier to surgically remove if theyâre in an area of the brain where itâs safe to operate. But they can come back. Benign tumors are less likely to come back than cancerous ones.
Even a benign brain tumor can be a serious health problem. Brain tumors can damage the cells around them by causing inflammation and putting increased pressure on nearby tissue, as well as inside your skull.
Malignant primary brain tumors are cancers that start in your brain, typically grow faster than benign tumors, and quickly invade surrounding tissue. Although brain cancer rarely spreads to other organs, it can spread to other parts of your brain and central nervous system.
Secondary brain tumors are cancer. They come from cancer that started somewhere else in your body and spread, or metastasized, to your brain. About 1 in 4 people with cancer develop a secondary brain tumor.
Primary Vs Metastatic Brain Tumors
Primary brain tumors are tumors that start in the brain. Examples of tumors that most often originate in the brain include meningioma and glioma. Very rarely, these tumors can break away and spread to other parts of the brain and spinal cord. More commonly, tumors spread to the brain from other parts of the body.
Metastatic brain tumors, also called secondary brain tumors, are malignant tumors that originate as cancer elsewhere in the body and then metastasize to the brain. Metastatic brain tumors are about four times more common than primary brain tumors. They can grow rapidly, crowding or invading nearby brain tissue.
Common cancers that can spread to the brain are:
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I Think I Have A Brain Tumour What Should I Do
Brain tumours are rare, however, if you’re worried, if a symptom persists or if you have more than one of these symptoms then you may want to speak to a healthcare profession.
Talk to your GP
GP appointments are usually quite short, find out how to best prepare for your appointment with our guide to talking to your doctor.
Get an eye test
If your symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get your eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.
Should I go to A& E?
- The headache is accompanied by a fever or stiff neck.
- The headache is the highest degree of pain on the pain scale.
This does not mean it is a brain tumour, but it could be another serious complaint that needs immediate treatment.
For signs and symptoms to be aware of in children of different ages, including persistent or recurring headaches, visit our HeadSmart website.
Should I speak to a doctor during the coronavirus pandemic?
We understand you may feel worried about seeking help from your GP during the coronavirus pandemic but please don’t delay speaking to a healthcare professional.
The NHS and your GP are still here for you and have made changes that make it easier to safely speak to a healthcare professional and get medical help if you need it.
It’s more important than ever for you to prepare for your appointments by understanding what might happen during the appointment and what questions you want to ask.
Other Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour
Other features of headaches have been identified as “red flags,” which may suggest a brain tumour. These include:
- a change in previous headache pattern
- if your headaches are associated with:
- any new muscle weakness, sensory symptoms , or visual symptoms, especially on one side of the body
- a change in memory, personality, or thinking
- seizures this does not have to be a full convulsive seizure, but could be a twitching of the hand, arm or leg, or an ‘absence’.
It is important to remember that all these symptoms can frequently occur in harmless headaches.
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At What Age Brain Tumor Can Occur
Its possible for people of any age, including teenagers, to develop signs of a brain tumor. In recent years, patients under the age of 20 accounted for roughly 13 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of brain cancer, while patients between the ages of 20 and 34 accounted for another 9 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of brain cancer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Brain And Spinal Cord Tumors
Many different types of tumors can start in the brain or spinal cord. These tumors might cause different signs and symptoms, depending on where they are and how fast they are growing.
Signs and symptoms of brain or spinal cord tumors may develop gradually and become worse over time, or they can happen suddenly, such as with a seizure.
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Warning Signs Of A Brain Tumor
Your chances of developing a cancerous brain or spinal cord tumor is less than 1 percent, according to the American Cancer Association. But that doesnt always calm your fears when youve got a pounding headache.
- Wont go away with pain medication
- Makes you throw up
- Wakes you up from sleep
- Gets worse in the morning and lessens during the day
Pay particular attention to a headache if you have other neurological symptoms, such as weakness or loss of coordination.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you have these types of symptoms, particularly if you have a headache that feels different from the type of headache you usually get, or if headaches are getting worse.
You may not have a brain tumour, but these types of symptoms should be checked.
If the GP cannot identify a more likely cause of your symptoms, they may refer you to a doctor who specialises in the brain and nervous system for further assessment and tests, such as a brain scan.
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What Does A Brain Tumor Feel Like In Your Head
However, some patients sometimes report a sharp or stabbing pain, despite the fact that these headaches are typically described as being dull and of the pressure-type. They can either be widespread or confined to a certain geographical region. They may become more severe if you cough, sneeze, or exert yourself in any way.
What Is Chemotherapy Treatment For Brain Tumors
Chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, is sometimes used to treat brain tumors. Drugs may be given in the following ways:
- : Chemotherapy may be given during and after radiation therapy. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. They may be given in an outpatient part of the hospital, at the doctor’s office, or at home. Rarely, you may need to stay in the hospital. The side effects of chemotherapy depend mainly on which drugs are given and how much. Common side effects include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, fever and chills, and weakness. If the drugs lower the levels of healthy blood cells, you’re more likely to get infections, bruise or bleed easily, and feel very weak and tired. Your health care team will check for low levels of blood cells. Some side effects may be relieved with medicine.
- In wafers that are put into the brain: For some adults with high-grade glioma, the surgeon implants several wafers into the brain. Each wafer is about the size of a dime. Over several weeks, the wafers dissolve, releasing the drug into the brain. The drug kills cancer cells. It may help prevent the tumor from returning in the brain after surgery to remove the tumor. People who receive an implant that contains a drug are monitored by the health care team for signs of infection after surgery. An infection can be treated with an antibiotic.
Questions to ask your doctor before starting chemotherapy treatment for a brain tumor
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