What Are The Other Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour
Other common symptoms, which may initially come and go, include one or more of the following:
- Continuing nausea, vomiting
- Tinnitus or hearing loss
- Unexplained twitches of the face or limbs
- Appearing to be lost in a deep daydream for a short while
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, especially if progressive and leading to paralysis
- Numbness or weakness in a part of the face, so that the muscles drop slightly
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, resulting in stumbling or lack of co-ordination
- Changes in personality or behaviour
- Impaired memory or mental ability, which may be very subtle to begin with
- Changes in senses, including smell
- Problems with speech, writing or drawing
- Loss of concentration or difficulty in concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
Symptoms Of Tumors In Different Parts Of The Brain Or Spinal Cord
Tumors in different parts of the brain or spinal cord can cause different symptoms. But these symptoms can be caused by any abnormality in that particular location they do not always mean a person has a brain or spinal cord tumor.
- Tumors in the parts of the cerebrum that control movement or sensation can cause weakness or numbness of part of the body, often on just one side.
- Tumors in or near the parts of the cerebrum responsible for language can cause problems with speech or even understanding words.
- Tumors in the front part of the cerebrum can sometimes affect thinking, personality, and language.
- If the tumor is in the cerebellum , a person might have trouble walking trouble with precise movements of hands, arms, feet, and legs problems swallowing or synchronizing eye movements and changes in speech rhythm.
- Tumors in the back part of the cerebrum, or around the pituitary gland, the optic nerve, or certain other cranial nerves can cause vision problems.
- Tumors in or near other cranial nerves might lead to hearing loss , balance problems, weakness of some facial muscles, facial numbness or pain, or trouble swallowing.
- Spinal cord tumors can cause numbness, weakness, or lack of coordination in the arms and/or legs , as well as bladder or bowel problems.
The brain also controls functions of some other organs, including hormone production, so brain tumors can also cause many other symptoms not listed here.
Warning Signs Of A Brain Tumor You Should Know
This article originally appeared in Prevention magazine. Read the original here.
Neurosurgeon Theodore Schwartz, M.D.Brain tumors come in all shapes and sizesand so do their symptoms.
“The key to a tumor’s symptoms really depends on its location,” says Theodore Schwartz, MD, a neurosurgeon with the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.
For example, if you have a tumor near the part of your brain that controls your arm or your eyesight, your symptoms may include limb weakness or blurry vision, Schwartz says.
When you consider that every cell in your brain can form a tumorand that your brain controls or interprets information from every part of your bodythe list of possible tumor symptoms encompasses “almost anything imaginable,” Schwartz says.
Still, some signs and symptoms are more common than others. Here’s what to watch out for.
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Can A Person Have A Bt And Never Have Headaches
About 50% of brain tumor patients have headache at the time of diagnosis.
It has been estimated that 10 million people in the U.S. have a headache on any given day.
Therefore, the vast majority of people having a headache do not have a brain tumor, since even counting patients with metastatic brain tumors, less than 100,000 people are walking around with a brain tumor of some type.
Clumsiness: Loss Of Balance And Coordination
Loss of balance, lack of coordination in the limbs, trouble swallowing, and numbness or weakness in one side of the body can be because of brain tumors.
If you are finding it difficult to maintain your balance while walking or having difficulty coordinating your hands and legs, it might be a symptom of brain tumor. This might be caused by a tumor in the cerebellum, the primary motor cortex, or the parietal lobe, all of which are responsible in different ways for the coordination of movements. A brain stem tumor that affects hearing can also contribute to loss of balance.
If your clumsiness can be attributed to numbness or weakness in one side of your body, it might be caused by a tumor in the parietal lobe. As the brain stem and the frontal lobe control muscular movements related to swallowing and speaking, respectively, patients also have trouble with these activities if they get tumors in these areas.
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Are The Tumors That Cause Headaches Typically Malignant Or Benign
The pattern of headaches a patient experiences doesn’t give doctors much information about the tumor it is associated with: Some patients with malignant tumors have no headaches at all, while smaller benign tumors can cause debilitating headaches, and vice versa. An evaluation by your doctor, in conjunction with imaging studies like a CT scan or MRI when necessary, will provide much more information.
Brain Tumor Signs & Symptoms
How Are Brain Tumors Diagnosed
Quite often it is not a headache that leads to the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Depending on the location of the tumor, it may take months or even years for the lesion to increase in size sufficiently to produce symptoms. Some tumors are discovered accidentally, such as during routine screening for migraines or following a minor head trauma, though this is very uncommon.
Frequently patients with brain tumors seek evaluation by a physician because of other symptoms. For example, they may suddenly or gradually develop visual disturbances, weakness on one side of their body, slurred speech, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, imbalance, dizziness, memory and/or cognitive problems, seizures, or even incontinence. An abnormal neurological examination is the most worrisome predictor of structural brain lesion.
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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.
Signs Of Brain Metastases
Heres surprising fact: The most common brain tumors dontactually start in the brain. Brain metastases, or metastatic braintumors, spread to the brain from otherparts of the body most often from the lungs, breasts, skin, kidneysor colon.
A person with a known history of these cancers who developsany of these neurological symptoms should be evaluated, Dr. Ahluwalia says.
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What Steps Does The Physician Take When A Brain Tumor Is Diagnosed
It is the role of the physician to determine which patients require further testing for potential serious illness. Usually an MRI scan of the head with contrast enhancement is the most sensitive and preferable. In some cases additional studies should be ordered, such as a CT scan, or imaging of other parts of the body to determine if a primary tumor may be present. Some patients may require a lumbar puncture to evaluate the spinal fluid, which can provide a clue to the cause of headaches.
If a tumor is present, the patient will be evaluated by both a neurosurgeon and often an oncologist. The neurologist is frequently involved in management of the patient with brain cancer in terms of monitoring the neurological status and treating complications, such as brain edema, epilepsy, strokes, pain, etc.
How Often Is A Headache A Sign Of A Brain Tumor
Headaches are incredibly common and brain tumors are incredibly rare, says Cameron Brennan, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Around five out of 100,000 people a year are diagnosed with some kind of brain tumor, whereas one in seven people report a migraine each year.
Migraine is just one cause of head pain. Tension headaches, cluster headaches, and simple but annoying caffeine withdrawal or fatigue headaches send many people to Starbucks or the medicine cabinet for a pain reliever every day.
Besides, headache or none, your lifetime risk of a malignant brain or spinal cord tumor is less than 1%, according to the American Cancer Society. And while Yay, I have a brain tumor, is not something youre likely to ever hear, most primary brain tumors are not cancerous, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.
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Under What Circumstances Is A Brain Tumor Likely To Produce Severe Headaches With Little Or No Neurologic Focality
Tumors that arise in relatively clinically silent areas of the brain may reach very large sizes before producing signs and/or symptoms. Tumors arising in and/or around the frontal lobes, for example, may grow to large sizes without producing focal neurologic deficits. Usually, however, there is some change in personality or cognition. Additionally, these can produce Foster-Kennedy syndrome, where there is papilledema in the contralateral eye, optic atrophy in the ipsilateral eye, and anosmia. This most commonly occurs in tumors of the anterior cranial base, such as meningiomas, that cause compression of the optic and olfactory nerves. These tumors can be very sizeable before detection.
Intraventricular tumors such as central neurocytoma, and ependymoma, can obstruct the flow of CSF within the ventricle and cause hydrocephalus without focal deficit. Hydrocephalus is associated with progressive headache, nausea, emesis, and a decreased level of consciousness.
How To Tell The Difference Between A Bad Headache And A Brain Tumor
You know the moment when your headache kicks in along with a tidal wave of questions. Is this a run-of-the-mill pain in the head, or are you experiencing the Big Onea brain tumor? While its common for people to think a headacheespecially if its sudden or severemeans that something is growing in their skulls, rest assured that most of them arent usually connected to serious illness.
Headache is not a common feature of a brain tumor, says Martin Allen Samuels, director of the program in interdisciplinary neuroscience at Brigham and Womens Hospital. Thats the most common misconception. Brain tumors produce neurological deficits such as changes in cognitive function, thinking abilities, language mistakes, changes in behavior. Actually, a headache is a very minor feature of brain tumors.
That persistent headachethe one that you start getting freaked out about when it lingers for a few daysis often mistaken for a brain tumor too, but it’s more likely a migraine, cluster headache, or tension headache. Migraines are the most common cause of headache, Samuels says, ranging in severity from relatively mild to disabling. They can be a lifelong phenomenon as well, he explains, running in families and occurring from when youre a kid or teen into adulthood, waxing and waning throughout your life.
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What Do Brain Tumour Headaches Feel Like
Headaches associated with brain tumours:
- can be throbbing or a dull ache, depending on where they are in the brain
- occur intermittently starting gradually, but fading over a few hours
- tend to get worse over time
- can resemble common migraine or tension-type headaches.
Other types of headaches
Other types of headaches include:
- tension headaches
For more information about these and other headache types, see the National Headache Foundation’s Complete Headache Chart.
Brain Tumor Or Migraine The Remarkable Similarities That Catch Many By Surprise
Are your symptoms due to a brain tumor or migraine?
In the US there are around 700,000 people living with a brain tumor compared to 37,000,000 people living with migraine. Yet the symptoms are similar and easily confused. They are so similar in fact that many people with their first migraine are rushed to hospital fearing the worst.
If you experience a sudden attack where you experience pins and needles, blurred vision, colored spots and patterns, cognitive impairment, memory loss, slurred speech or even difficulty walking it will cause serious concern. Combine all this with a skull-crushing headache and its understandable why you might rush to the hospital.
When are symptoms like this a sign of something life threatening like a brain tumor or from something else like a migraine?
Lets look first at brain tumors.
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Vision Problems: Loss Of Vision Or Double Vision
Seeing floating shapes in front of your eyes, seeing everything double, or losing vision on and off may all indicate tumors in different parts of the brain.
- Blurred sight, vision loss that comes and goes, or seeing floating shapes like small dots or thin strands in front of your eyes can all indicate a tumor.
- A tumor in the occipital lobe may mean loss of vision in one eye or sometimes both eyes.
- A tumor in the brain stem may cause double vision.
- Pituitary tumors or adenomas affecting the optic nerve may lead to loss of field of vision,6 which means your peripheral vision may be affected. In simple words, if you are staring straight ahead, you will be able to see only whats directly in front of you and not sideways, almost as though you were looking through a tunnel. This is why this type of vision loss is also known as tunnel vision.
- Sometimes, flickering or twitching eyes may also be a sign of a tumor in the cerebellum. An eye twitch can also be caused by these 7 factors.
How Long Should Someone Wait Until They See A Doctor About Their Headache
“Remember that the vast majority of headaches are self-resolving and not a symptom of a serious underlying health condition. However, you should contact your doctor if you have a new severe headache or a headache that is different from your normal pattern of headaches,” says Dr. Lipinski. “For instance, headaches that are sudden and very severe are concerning and should be evaluated immediately. Headaches that wake you from sleep, are worse in the morning, progressively worsen and do not improve with over-the-counter medications, are worse with coughing or bending forward, or are associated with any other neurologic symptoms should prompt a visit to your doctor.”
The same precautions should be taken by those who have a previous cancer diagnosis. If you are currently in treatment for or are a survivor of any cancer, and you have a new headache that is severe or persistent, you should speak with your cancer doctor right away.
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Headaches: Inexplicable And Resistant To Medicines
A new persistent headache is a common sign of brain tumor, though not the first sign. About 50% of all brain tumor patients complain of headaches but not usually at tumor onset. Either the tumor puts pressure on the brain or blocks the drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid and raises the ICP, which results in headaches.
Its difficult to differentiate between a tumor-related headache and a normal one you might get because of sinus, flu, or migraine.
Watch out for a new, persistent headache that is worse when you cough, bend, or sneeze and doesnt improve with your regular headache medicines.
- The pain may be throbbing and resemble a migraine or may even be like a tension headache.
- It was believed that a tumor headache is worst in the morning and gets better within a few hours, but this may not always be the case.3
- The pain also shoots up when you do something that increases the pressure in your head, say coughing, sneezing, or bending.
- Over-the-counter medicines, rest, or sleep do not help.
- It might also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.4
Memory Loss: Recalling Or Registering Information
You may forget objects, people, places, or events you knew before you got the tumor or forget most information about events that happened ever since you got the tumor .
A brain tumor, especially in the frontal and the temporal lobes,9 may affect your memory of objects, people, places, or events in your life. The inability to recall any such information that you knew before you had the brain tumor is known as retrograde amnesia.
You might also not be able to remember anything that happened since the brain tumor developed. This inability to process new information is known as anterograde amnesia.10 Sadly, memory loss may be an effect of the treatment as well.
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When Should You Be Concerned About A Headache
A red flag that a headache could be indicative of a medical issue is if it is a new or unusual headache for example, one that causes someone to wake up at night, or one that is associated with changes in position. Another red flag is if the headache is accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss. Some headaches can be relieved through over-the-counter pain medication, or by having a cup of coffee, for coffee drinkers but if the headache is persistent and doesnt improve like it normally would with typical measures, there could be cause for concern and enough reason to see a primary care physician.