January 12, 2023
The term "brain tumor" refers to a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. Currently, an estimated 800,000 people in the United States* are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor. The type of brain tumor, its growth rate, as well as its location determine how it will affect the functions of the nervous system. Treatment options such as radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, etc. will depend on the type of tumor, its size, location, the extent of surgical resection, performance status, grade, age of the patient, and molecular characteristics.
Brain tumors are generally divided into two types depending on their origin.
These tumors originate in the brain or in adjacent tissues, such as the brain-covering membranes (meninges), cranial nerves, pituitary gland, or pineal gland.
In adults, this type of tumor is much less common. There are different types of primary brain tumors named after the cells where they are located.
This type of tumor originates from cancer in other parts of the body and then metastasizes to the brain. People who have a history of cancer are at increased risk of developing these tumors, which are far more common than primary brain tumors.
Any type of cancer can spread to the brain, but common types are as follows:
Although the symptoms of brain tumors vary for every individual depending upon the type, size, and location, there are a few signs that are common to most. Here are 5 signs that can indicate the presence of a brain tumor.
Headache is a very general symptom of several medical issues and not all headaches are indicative of a brain tumor. Only a small percentage of patients experiencing severe headaches suffer from brain tumors. A tumor in the brain can put pressure on sensitive nerves and blood vessels, causing severe headaches. Also, a brain tumor prevents the free flow of fluid in the brain. Hence, increased pressure can also lead to headaches.
Those who have a brain tumor experience new headaches or a shift in their old pattern of headaches which are as follows:
A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain and the nature of it depends on the lobe it affects. Commonly known as convulsions or epilepsy, a seizure is the first sign of a brain tumor. About 50 percent of people with this type of tumor experience at least one seizure at any stage.
Symptoms of a seizure can range from loss of consciousness, loss of control of body functions, twitching and relaxing of muscles, to changes in sensation of smell, or vision. Seizures are most common in glioneuronal tumors, and they are also prevalent in those suffering from low-grade glioma, meningioma, and metastatic brain tumors.
A brain tumor can cause hormonal imbalance or increase intracranial pressure in the brain stem and eventually trigger vomiting or nausea.
A variety of other reasons, including food poisoning, influenza, etc. can also cause nausea or vomiting. However, vomiting caused by this health issue is often projectile and severe. Those experiencing extreme nausea or the frequent urge to vomit should look for other neurological signs to correlate with and determine the cause
It is also possible for brain tumors to affect the neurocognitive domain, which may result in memory and perception problems. If it affects the frontal or parietal lobe, it can also impair reasoning and decision-making. A few common cognitive issues are as follows:
Mild cognitive problems typically happen for a variety of other reasons, such as vitamin deficiencies, medications, stress, or mental health conditions. Hence, it is crucial to consult a doctor if a person is suffering from these conditions.
Sleep-wake cycle problems are common among patients with primary brain tumors. They generally happen as a secondary effect of cognition impairment, fatigue, etc., which are some common symptoms of brain tumors.
Besides, a brain tumor can also result in intracranial inflammation which can play a key role in sleep disturbances. Patients with sleep-wake disturbances usually complain about difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, waking too early, waking up feeling unrefreshed, taking excessive daytime naps, etc.
Fatigue is a common sign of several health issues other than brain tumors. But in this case, the severity of fatigue is much higher, and it can show the following symptoms:
Fatigue can indicate the presence of a cancerous brain tumor, but it is less likely to be the first sign.
In addition to the commonly mentioned symptoms, individuals may experience fewer common symptoms depending on the location of the tumor.
Brain tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign), so early detection is key to recovery. Knowing the symptoms will help people recognize the signs, monitor them, and seek medical attention at the earliest. It is crucial to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist or worsen. Schedule an appointment at Advanced Cancer Treatment Centers to consult the best oncologists in Brooksville, Florida.
*Follow the link for the data provided by National Brain Tumor Society