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:
How To Help When Someone Is Having A Seizure
Seizures are a sudden attack or convulsion caused by abnormal burst of electricity in the brain. Signs can range from muscle contractions, to staring, to loss of consciousness.
- Stay with them and allow the seizure to pass
- Loosen any tight clothing if possible and make sure they are breathing
- Try to cushion harmful objects to prevent injury while convulsing
- DO NOT put anything in their mouth
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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.
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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.
What Percentage Of Patients Experience Only Headaches As A Symptom
Some patients have headache as the only symptom, or as the first symptom. Obviously not every patient with a headache gets a CT or MRI.
Often a physician will look for some other problem before ordering a scan on a patient with a headache.
Some physicians have been successfully sued because they didnt order a scan after the patient complained repeatedly of headache, but the physician didnt order the scan because no other signs or symptoms were present.
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Types Of Skull Base Tumors
Specialists at NYU Langone are experts at identifying the many types of skull base tumors. The skull base is located at the base of the brain. It sits behind the eyes and above the nasal cavitythe large empty space behind the noseand slopes down to the back of the head. It separates the brain from other structures of the head.
Many important nerves and blood vessels run through the skull base, which is why tumors that develop there can cause many different symptoms, depending on their location.
NYU Langone doctors determine the best treatment for you based on the type of tumor you have. Tumors in the skull base may be benign, meaning noncancerous, or malignant, meaning cancerous.
The Most Common Brain Tumor Symptoms
- Persistent room spinning, dizziness, or loss of balance.
- A seizure or loss of ability to speak
- Hearing problems
- Gradually worsening weakness or loss of sensation in an arm or leg
- Personality changes such as emotional withdrawal or anger, or becoming easily confused
Consult your doctor if you have any overall concerns about your health.
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Are Constant Headaches A Sign Of A Brain Tumor
Individuals from all walks of life can get headaches. The occasional headache, or a headache that is the result of another medical issue, like a sinus infection, are typically not a concern. Many sufferers of reoccurring or continual headaches wonder if there is a link between their headaches and brain tumors.
What Are The Treatments For Benign And Cancerous Brain Tumors
People with brain tumors have several treatment options. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Many people get a combination of treatments.
The choice of treatment depends mainly are:
- The type and grade of brain tumor
- Its location in the brain
- Its size
- Your age and general health
For some types of brain cancer, the doctor also needs to know whether cancer cells were found in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices, the expected results, and the possible side effects. Because cancer therapy often damages healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects and how treatment may change your normal activities. You and your health care team can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical and personal needs.
You may want to talk with your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new treatment methods. See the Taking Part in Cancer Research section.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat brain tumors include neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and neuroradiologists.
Questions to ask your doctor before having brain tumor treatment
Can you recommend other doctors who could give me a second opinion about my treatment options? How often should I have checkups?
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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.
How Do I Cope With Brain Tumour Headaches
Below are some suggestions to help manage and treat headache pain that people with brain tumours can experience:
- take the medication prescribed by your doctor
- tell your doctor straight away if the medication stops working or becomes less effective
- keep a headache diary
Symptoms can change over time. Be sure to tell any your doctor or nurse as soon as possible about any new symptoms or changes in existing symptoms.
Keeping a headache diary
In your headache diary, as well as when you have headaches , it can be useful to record the following for each headache:
- what the pain feels like e.g. sharp, stabbing, dull, pounding, achy, tingling
- where the pain is located
- whether it moves around or stays in one place
- how you would score the pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain imaginable
- how long the headache lasted
- whether it comes and goes, or if its there all the time
- if it was accompanied by nausea, vomiting, changes in vision, or any other symptoms
- if it seemed to happen in relation to something else
- if pain medicine helped, if so, how much?
- if there was anything else that made the pain better or worse
Are migraines a symptom of a brain tumour?
There are many different types of headache. Migraines are one type.
People who get migraines, or other recurrent headaches, often worry that they may have a brain tumour.
Keep a headache diary to take to your doctors to help with the diagnosis.
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.
Do I Have A Headache Or A Brain Tumor
Welcome to Am I Dying, a column that hopes to save you from your late-night WebMD spiraling. You can email us your hypochondriac questions at .
Every once in a while Ill get a headache in my right or left temple that lasts for two or three days. And almost every time, I become convinced I have a brain tumor. Why else would I only feel it on ONE side like that, if not for a tumor pressing against that spot on my skull? I drink more water, I take Advil, and I sleep, and sometimes these things help. I cant afford to get a brain scan every time this happens to me, as much as I might want to, sooo what would it look like if I DID have a brain tumor?
I hear you. As someone so nearsighted I would for sure just die immediately in the event of a zombie apocalypse, and as someone who writes for the internet full-time , I get a lot of headaches. Especially in the summer, which is known to be harder on migraine sufferers and cluster headache sufferers alike. Most of the time, Im able to take two Advils and move on with my life, but sometimes , my anxiety takes over, and I become convinced that something much more serious is happening.
But if your headache is mild to moderate, and fits the description of one of three common forms of benign headaches, Newman recommends the usual: ibuprofen or Excedrin, lots of water, and either a hot shower or an ice pack, depending on your preference. In the vast majority of cases, itll pass.
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What Is A Brain Tumor
A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors are either benign or malignant . Both types may press on nerves and push into critical areas for function such as speech, movement and the senses. Both types of tumors may also cause swelling by blocking fluid and trigger seizures by causing the brains electrical impulses to misfire. Learn more about brain tumor types.
What Side Effects Does Chemotherapy Cause When Treating Brain Tumors
Many people have heard of the side effects chemotherapy can cause when treating other cancers nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, etc. But a number of the brain cancer chemotherapy drugs we use are a little different and may not cause such severe side effects. Your team will discuss the possibilities with you before you commit to a treatment plan.
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Personality Changes Or Mood Swings
Tumors in the brain can disrupt brain function, affecting your personality and behavior. They can also cause unexplained mood swings. For example:
- You were easy to get along with, but now youre more easily irritated.
- You used to be a go-getter, but youve become passive.
- Youre relaxed and happy one minute and, the next, youre starting an argument for no apparent reason.
These symptoms can be caused by a tumor in:
- certain parts of the cerebrum
- the frontal lobe
- the temporal lobe
These changes can occur early on, but you can also get these symptoms from chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Weakness Loss Of Sensation Or Numbness
These symptoms are examples of focal symptoms that affect a particular area of the brain. They can often help identify the location of the tumour. Examples include:
lack of coordination
weakness or paralysis
changes in sense, including smell
Focal symptoms are caused by the tumour itself and its specific location in the brain.
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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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How Often Do Brain Tumors Come Back
Unfortunately, many malignant brain tumors return , even after treatment initially appears successful. Because of this risk, we provide checkups and imaging tests at regular intervals. While tumors frequently recur near their original locations, they may also show up in a different part of the brain or on the spinal cord.
If a brain tumor does return, we work with you to find additional treatment options and the best way to proceed. Our team can also provide relief for symptoms.
Speech And Language Problems
Cancer can affect parts of your brain that help you speak and process language. You might struggle to find the right words, or mix up words when you describe objects . It can also be harder to understand what other people say, or to follow a conversation. Language problems can be frustrating. Relax and slow down when you speak. A speech and language therapist can also help with communication.
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Symptoms Of Increased Pressure Inside The Skull
A tumour can increase the pressure inside the skull. This is called raised intracranial pressure. It can be caused by the size of the tumour, or because the tumour is blocking the flow of fluid in the brain.
The most common symptoms of this are headaches, feeling sick and vomiting.
The headache may be worse in the morning or get worse when you cough, sneeze or bend down. Increased pressure can also cause symptoms, such as changes to your sight, feeling confused or problems with your balance.
What Are The Long
It’s common to have lingering effects from brain swelling. The problems you notice depend on the severity as well as the location of the injury. Symptoms may be noticed with any of the following:
- Communication skills
Your health care team is available to help you deal with these challenges. While some problems may continue to diminish over time, others may require ongoing treatment.
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When And Why A Brain Aneurysm Requires Surgery
A brain aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel that can potentially burst. Between 1.5 and 5 percent of people have or develop a brain aneurysm, according to the American Stroke Association.
Given the diagnosis, Mureddu and her husband, Chuck, went online to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and found an experienced surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for the operation. But it would be another month until she was wheeled into the operating room.
Her surgeon explained that when she had felt pain in her head, the aneurysm had bled. He didnt expect it to bleed again in the next four weeks, and he needed the time to study the best way to proceed with the surgery. Mureddus aneurysm was considered giant at 3.1 centimeters. Any aneurysm over 2.5 centimeters one inch is termed giant, according to MGHs Neurovascular Center. Hers also had veins going through it, which meant the surgeon wouldnt be able to just clip it off. He would have to do two bypasses.
Although shed had no symptoms until that day at the gym, her doctors suspected Mureddu had had the brain aneurysm for some time.
She had a history of 23 years of migraines, she says. I would get 12 to 18 migraines a month where I would get sick. But I lived in three states during those 23 years, and no one ordered a scan of my head.
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