Brain Tumor Warning Signs

By R.L. Cultrona

As with any organ, the brain can be infected with cancerous cells. However, because of the brain's specialized function in the body, tumors can have a wide array of effects on the body. When a tumor begins to grow on the brain, several warning signs may give some clue that cancer has begun to take hold.


Headaches are one of the most common initial symptoms of a brain tumor. The problem with headaches, however, is that several different conditions can cause them, making them an unreliable factor in determining the onset of cancer. Headaches associated with tumors may cause a person to vomit before she feels better. If you begin to have severe headaches, keep a headache journal and show it to your doctor. He will be able to look at the symptoms and determine a course of action.


According to the American Brain Tumor Association, about 30 percent of people do not know they have a brain tumor until they have a seizure. Seizures are caused by a disruption of electricity in the brain. When this happens, the brain goes a bit "haywire" and causes your body to respond unnaturally. This can cause you to lose consciousness or convulse uncontrollably. Seizures may occur in just one part of the body, such as the arm or leg.

Personality Changes

As a tumor grows, it may press on different parts of the brain that control mental faculties and personality. If this occurs, a person's behavior and temperament may begin to change. Also, if the tumor begins to push on an area of the brain that controls speech or memory, a person may become forgetful or lose parts of her speech.

Mass Effect

"Mass Effect" refers to a group of symptoms that begin to display if a tumor is present. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, double vision, loss of vision and a swollen optic nerve. These symptoms can be the result of several different things. The tumor can be growing in the skull, the brain can be swelling due to the presence of a tumor or the fluid surrounding the brain can be blocked by the presence of the tumor.

Local Symptoms

Finally, as the tumor grows and presses on various areas of the brain, it can cause a wide array of local symptoms. These symptoms, such as loss of hearing, loss of muscle control, decreased sensation, weakness, difficulty speaking and vision problems, give an idea as to where the tumor might be located. Document any of these symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.

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