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How to Recognize Symptoms of a Brain Tumor

By Wirnani Garner ; Updated July 27, 2017

A tumor is an abnormal growth of mass that don't possess any relevant physiological functions and comes from a rapid proliferation of cells. Brain tumors can develop directly on brain tissues (primary brain tumors), or it can begin somewhere else in the body and metastasize into the brain (secondary brain tumors). Tumors of the brain can be classified as benign or malignant. Benign tumors do not contain any cancer cells and do not affect surroundings tissues. The tumors can easily be removed and rarely grow back. But, sometimes the tumors invade sensitive areas and cause problems. Malignant tumors on the other hand, contain cancer cells and usually metastasize or spread on other tissues. These tumors grow rapidly and generally impose serious complications.

  1. Notice how often you experience headaches. A generalized type of headache is the most common sign of brain tumor. As the tumor progresses, headaches occur more often than usual and are more intense. The pattern or time frame may change every now and then; but it is usually worse in the morning when waking up and gradually improves later in the day. A brain tumor headache often persists and is aggravated when bending, kneeling, coughing, changing positions, or when doing any strenuous activities.

  2. Try to recall if you ever encountered any episodes of seizure. This is the second most prominent sign of a brain tumor. As the tumor presses on certain areas of the brain, it can cause disturbance in normal electrical flow. The brains' electrical current will become irregular and sudden causing convulsions (series of involuntary muscle contractions), tingling sensations and numbness, speech problems, altered vision and loss of consciousness.

  3. Take note of how many times you feel sick and want to throw up. Nausea and vomiting may be due to other causes, but this is often a part of brain tumor symptoms that come with headaches. An individual with a brain tumor typically feels nauseated as the course of his headache takes place. Usual type of pain killers or headache remedies do not have any effect on this type of headache--but relief often occurs after the person vomits.

  4. Monitor any changes in your mental state and behavior. Depending on the location of the tumor, symptoms such as speech problems, impaired concentration, short-term memory loss, disorientation and confusion may occur. You may also be lethargic. Cognitive functions are often reduced especially if the tumor metastasized and is pressing on the frontal area of the brain. Changes in personality and behavior are also noticeable if the tumor invades the area that controls emotions. You may often become irritable and impatient.

  5. Observe your sight and hearing functions. You may experience vision and hearing problems when the brain tumor invades an area around the brain stem or meninges. Ptosis or abnormal drooping of the affected eye may occur. Sometimes the patient may become cross-eyed (strabismus) or may sometimes experience vision loss. Hearing problems can also be encountered by the patient, including a buzzing or a ringing sound in the ears, which can eventually lead to hearing loss.

  6. Note any unusual sensations on certain parts of your body or a decrease in strength of your limbs or facial muscles. Individuals with brain tumors often feel abnormal sensations on arms, head, or any part of their bodies. Tingling sensations and numbness around these areas are the usual complaints. Facial muscle weakness is possible where you will have difficulty in performing certain types of facial expressions. Weakness of the upper and lower extremities can also be encountered which will then hinder your balance, coordination, gait and posture. You may also have difficulty in doing any functional activities that involve the use of legs, feet, arms and hands. In severe cases, muscle weakness can sometimes progress to muscle paralysis.

  7. Check for other possible symptoms. Individuals with a tumor in the brain can suffer from other types of sensory problems such as an impaired sense of smell, lack of tongue control, and difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia. Hormonal or endocrine disorders may arise and, for some women, the menstruation period may become irregular or absent.

  8. Tip

    If you or your loved ones encounter any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor or neurologist immediately. Symptoms of a brain tumor is dependent upon the size, the type or rate of its growth and the location of the mass. Manifestations of these symptoms usually occur when the tumor is pressing on certain nerves or already causing damage on certain areas of the brain. It may also take place when the tumor causes obstruction in the brain leading to an increased intracranial pressure.

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