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Symptoms Of Brain Tumor - Symptoms of a Brain Tumor

tumors changes cells headaches

A brain tumor is a form of cancer that consists of a mass of cells growing and reproducing in a rapid and unusual manner located inside the skull. Brain tumors may begin in the brain or they may form in the brain when cancerous cells from another part of the body spread to the brain. Brain tumors are one of the most dreaded forms of cancer because the brain is so sensitive. The seriousness of the disease has been somewhat blown off as semi-humorous in modern society since before Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke his now immortal line in Kindergarten Cop, “It’s not a tumor.”

Symptoms of a brain tumor are numerous and varied because the brain controls so many different functions of the body. Damage to brain cells can occur in two ways: as a direct result of the tumor damaging normal cells and from the pressure that the tumor’s inflammation can impose on the cells. While the exact cause of a brain tumor is unknown, several different types have been identified:

  • Gliomas – affecting glial cells in the brain can occur at any age.
  • Meningiomas – affecting meninges, grows slowly usually in adults aged 40 to 70.
  • Others – include pituitary tumors, lymphoma, pineal gland tumors, and primary germ cell tumors.

Symptoms of a brain tumor are one of the primary ways they are initially diagnosed. Symptoms prompt a doctor’s visit, and the doctor then orders further tests such as a CT scan, EEG, MRI, tissue biopsy, or cerebral spinal fluid exam to confirm a diagnosis. Several treatment methods are available for brain tumors that include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Even with treatment, however, the prognosis is not good. It is estimated that after treatment, only 10% to 32% of patients survive longer than 5 more years.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of a brain tumor, it is suggested to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away so further tests can be started. The earlier a brain tumor is detected, the better the chance of long-term survival.

The most common symptoms of a brain tumor are headaches. Headaches caused by brain tumors often have unusual characteristics, such as only occurring in the morning and clearing up after before afternoon. Sometimes the headaches start while sleeping and continue through the night. The headaches often get worse by changing positions, exercising, or even simply by coughing. The headaches can be accompanied along with other unexplainable symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, or weakness.

Besides headaches there are many other symptoms of a brain tumor that are common. Many of them involve changes in one or more of the five physical senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The following are common symptoms of brain tumors:

  • Changes in sight – blurry vision, double vision, blindness, drooping eyelids, differently-sized pupils, eye spasms.
  • Changes in hearing – hearing loss, phantom sounds, loss of balance, nausea.
  • Changes in smell or taste – includes loss of the senses, phantom smells/tastes, things smell or taste differently than usual.
  • Changes in the sense of touch – these changes can include numbness, pressure, phantom pain, and hot or cold feelings.
  • Mental capacity – memory loss or sudden confusion is often experienced. Some people with brain tumors can also suddenly forget how to read or write.
  • Weakness, sometimes experienced in a single body part, and sometimes experienced in only one-half of the body part.
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty walking

Additional symptoms of a brain tumor may be present if it is affecting the pituitary gland:

  • Changes in or absent menstruation
  • Changes in breast size for men or women
  • Discharge from the breasts (nipples)
  • Growth of excess body hair
  • Changes in facial appearance
  • Sudden onset obesity
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