What Are The Other Brain Tumour Symptoms
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
Do You Have A Brain Tumor
For many people with a brain tumor, diagnosis occurs after visiting the doctor due to experiencing a problem or symptom, such as frequent headaches or other significant changes.
Symptoms of a brain tumor can be general or specific:
- A general symptom is caused by the pressure of the tumor on the brain or spinal cord.
- On the other hand, when a specific part of the brain is not functioning normally because of a tumor, it may result in specific symptoms.
Tumors also grow differently:
- Some tumors may not cause symptoms until they are quite large then they can quickly damage a patients health.
- Other tumors have symptoms that develop slowly.
Signs Of An Emergency
- The worst headache you’ve ever had
- A severe headache while pregnant or after giving birth
- A severe headache with an impaired immune system due to chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, or another condition
- Sudden severe pain on only one side of your head
- A fever along with a severe headache
- A gut feeling that something is seriously wrong
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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.
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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What Symptoms Differentiate A Brain Tumor From Other Headaches
Typical brain tumor headaches are “tension-like,” aching in nature, and can occur intermittently with a gradual onset and resolution over a few hours. The headache can also be throbbing, resembling common migraine. There have been reports in the literature of patients whose brain tumors presented with classical migraine-like headache with aura which progressively worsened over a few months. Tumors can also obstruct cerebrospinal fluid flow which can cause headaches.
In a patient with a normal neurological exam and no other complaints, the sole symptom of headache is rarely related to a brain tumor. Certain specific features of headache have been identified as “red flags,” which may suggest the presence of a structural abnormality , such as a brain tumor.
These red flags may include: a change in previous headache pattern headache unresponsive to therapy any new motor , sensory, or visual symptoms or signs a change in memory, personality, or thinking prolonged/repetitious vomiting or a headache getting worse when bending over, coughing, sneezing, or Valsalva maneuver . These symptoms can frequently occur in benign headaches as well.
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.
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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.
Is Your Nosebleed Or Headache A Sign Of Brain Cancer
Sometimes, people with a brain tumor do not show any typical symptoms. Or, certain symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not a brain tumor, which is not uncommon since these symptoms can be indicative of various conditions.
For example, nosebleeds are indicative of a number of non-threatening conditions, such as:
- Aggressive blowing, picking, or irritation to the nasal blood vessels
- Quick changes in temperature
- High blood pressure
- Nasal polyps, non-cancerous growths inside the nose or sinuses.
In many cases, a nosebleed is not likely to indicate a brain tumor. Of course, if a person is concerned about any suspicious symptoms, he/she should speak with a doctor.
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What Are The Other Symptoms Associated With Brain Tumors Apart From Headaches
In most brain tumors, the affected individual experiences certain neurological issues apart from the headache. These symptoms arise when the tumor invades, compresses, or damages the different parts of the brain. Based on the place in the brain the tumor is located, these symptoms vary in nature. One may suffer:
Headaches that do not get better with pain medication.
Symptoms like seizures, weakness, numbness, or paralysis, especially on one side of the body.
Frequent nausea and vomiting, swelling of the eye, or vision problems.
Speech impairment and personality changes.
You Have A Seizure Even If It Isnt A Full
A general, full-body seizure is characterized by a person falling to the floor and convulsing. It means the whole brain is having a seizure. But if only part of the brain is having a seizure, the symptoms will be related to that area of the body that the brain controls. There might be shaking or uncontrollable movements of just one arm, for example.
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What Is A Brain Tumor
Uncontrolled and abnormal cell growth in the brain is called a brain tumor, which is divided into two types:
- Primary: If any brain cells grow and multiply abnormally to cause a brain tumor, this is called a primary tumor.
- Secondary: If abnormal cells have spread to the brain from another part of the body, this is called a secondary tumor. Secondary or metastatic brain tumors are the most common type of brain tumor and they usually spread via the bloodstream. Cancers of the breast, lungs, kidney, and skin are the ones that most commonly spread to the brain.
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.
The nature of a brain tumor headache is different from a tension or migraine headache in some noticeable ways.
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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What Are The Typical Symptoms Of A Brain Tumor Headache
What makes a brain tumor headache different from other types of headaches is the timing and pattern of the headache. Following are the headache symptoms described by some patients who were diagnosed with brain tumors later on:
The headaches come and go every once in a while in the beginning and progressively become more severe and intense. After a while, the pain became continuous in nature.
Most of them describe it as a feeling of pressure inside the head.
Many individuals felt it as a dull ache all over the head.
A few of them suffered a much sharper shooting pain, more like a migraine.
Headaches are probably worse in the mornings.
Actions like bending, coughing, or straining make the pain more intense in some patients.
Occasionally the headache may start all of a sudden, which may be due to an acute event like bleeding in the area of the underlying tumor.
Moffitt Cancer Centers Approach To Brain Tumors
Individuals who are experiencing potential symptoms of brain cancer can turn to Moffitt Cancer Center for clinical assessments and diagnostic testing. Our Neuro-Oncology Program facilitates a comprehensive range of imaging scans, lab tests and neurological evaluations in a single location, alongside advanced brain tumor treatments and supportive care services. Additionally, referrals are not required to consult with a member of our team.
To request an appointment to discuss possible brain tumor headaches with one of our experienced oncologists, call or complete a new patient registration form online.
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Causes Of Brain Tumors
A tumor occurs when the DNA of a healthy cell changes or mutates in a way that allows the cell to grow rapidly. A brain tumor refers to a mass of abnormal cells that can develop in different areas of the brain.
Most brain tumors form without a known cause. However, certain changes in a cells DNA affect the genes that control cellular growth and division.
A person can inherit gene changes that lead to cancer. Genetic changes can also result from long-term exposure to substances that damage DNA, such as tobacco smoke and radiation.
A brain tumor may be benign or malignant .
Both types of brain tumor may increase the pressure inside the skull, causing headaches, fatigue, and even coma. Without treatment, a brain tumor can lead to long lasting brain damage.
What Is A Migraine
Migraines are a type of headache. But as anyone who has had migraines will tell you, these arenât your run-of-the-mill headaches that might cause minor inconvenience or mild discomfort. Migraines can be so painful that they may stop you from doing basic tasks or your daily routine. The pain from a migraine can be so intense that some people may think they have a serious condition.
A reassuring reality check
When youâre trying to figure out whatâs causing your pain, know that doctors say most headaches are just that — headaches. And while they may hurt a lot, they are not a sign of anything serious or life-threatening most of the time. Also, primary brain tumors — ones that start in the brain, not those that start somewhere else in the body and spread to the brain â are relatively rare. Fewer than 25,000 people in the U.S. get them each year.
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When Should You Get Checked For A Brain Tumor
The signs symptoms of brain tumors depend on their size, type, and location. The most common signs symptoms include 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.
What Does A Headache Caused By A Brain Tumor Feel Like
It feels pretty much the same as other headaches, particularly a migraine, says Dr. Brennan. Theres not a single pattern that distinguishes a brain tumor headache from the range of normal headaches that people can get, he says, adding that because brain tumors are all about taking up space in the skull, anything that raises the pressure in the head can trigger a headache thats due to a brain tumor. Sneezing, laughing, bending overthat kind of thing. But those things can exacerbate a regular headache, too.
A headache caused by a brain tumor, however, is unlikely to come on during the day, says Dr. Porter, and may wake you up in the night or early morning hours. But that alone wouldnt be the biggest red flag: Neurological symptoms along with a headache are a much bigger cause for concern.
When friends or family call Dr. Brennan for advice when they have a headache, he asks a few questions, including if the headache has been happening for a while. That points to it not being concerning, even though the symptoms may be awfulthe longer its been going on, the more likely it is to be a benign headache.
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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.
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.
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What Causes Brain Tumor Symptoms
Brain tumor symptoms are associated with the part of the brain where a tumor is growing. They also can develop due to increased intracranial pressure .For example, you may experience changes in vision if the tumor is in an area of the brain that controls vision. A tumor in the area of the brain that controls balance may result in lack of coordination.
Increased intracranial pressure can produce a range of symptoms that affect areas of the brain near the brain tumor, but it can also affect areas of the brain that are located relatively far from the brain tumor.
What Does A Brain Tumour Headache 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 headache
Other types of headaches include:
- tension headaches
For more information about these and other headache types, see the National Headache Foundations Complete Headache Chart.
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