A brain tumor can be labeled as either primary or secondary tumor. Primary brain tumor develops in the brain, and many primary tumors are benign, whereas secondary brain tumor spreads from other organs, for instance, lungs, to the brain. When the brain tumor develops or starts to grow, it induces a variety of symptoms which affect the wellbeing of the patient.
However, it is fairly difficult to determine if you have a brain tumor just by checking the symptoms list, that is, you can’t be certain that you have the tumor just by relying on the sensations you feel.
Internal symptoms can be misleading, but never ignore any kind of discomfort, because it is of utmost importance to start with a treatment at the onset of the tumor. In the case of a malignant tumor, a single month can make an enormous difference. Over 50 percent of the people reported that they had these symptoms for more than one month before the diagnosis of a brain tumor was made.
The statistics of early diagnosed brain tumor are not upbeat. Sixty-four percent of the time the first care doctor misdiagnosed the brain tumor in favor of some other condition. This is because it is a relatively rare condition, and the symptoms are fairly vague and may apply to a lot of diseases.
Brain tumor symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the nature, stage, and location of the tumor. However, keep in mind people that do not have brain tumors may experience these symptoms as well. The only foolproof way of knowing if you do or do not have a brain tumor is by taking proper hospital scans and tests and seeing a specialist in neurology.
Surveys of patients have shown that headaches are the most frequently occurring symptom of a brain tumor as 46% of patients reported that they regularly experience them. They can vary in patterns, but be alarmed by headaches that are:
- Combined with nausea and vomiting
- Different than headaches that you had experienced before
- Unresponsive to painkillers
- Made worse when bending over, coughing or sneezing
- Combined with motor, sensory, visual changes
- Combined with changes in memory, personality, cognitive processes
However, patients have described that the difference between a regular headache and a tumor-related headache is in the ‘tension-like’ feeling, a migraine that becomes more severe as it progresses, lasting for several hours. It is also common that the patient feels a headache getting more painful by the month.
A seizure is an involuntary loss of control over muscles and may be accompanied by a loss of consciousness. Seizures can be a symptom of other conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, fever… Whatever the cause, do not ignore it if it happens to you and sees a doctor immediately.
Muscle twitching, hand tremor or even slight shaking of a limb can be classified as a seizure. More severe seizures involve sudden, violent shaking of the whole body and total loss of consciousness, Problems with vision (double vision, blurred vision, inability to look upwards), a short 30-second period of no breathing, turning a shade of blue and speech impairment may also occur during a seizure.
Numb and weak arms, legs or face muscles
One in four patients reported feeling weakness in limbs, while 16% reported strange sensations in the skull area. This may result in difficulty walking in a straight line, changed movement, dropping objects, falling, or an asymmetric facial expression.
Once again, these symptoms may be caused by an array of conditions unrelated to a brain tumor. However, if the described weakness or numbness occur more and more frequently and aren’t just an isolated incident, be sure to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Behavioral and cognitive problems
Any changes in the thinking patterns such as problems with short-term memory, short attention span, problems with speaking such as the inability to find the right word or some type of aphasia (inability to formulate or understand language) may be indicators of a brain tumor.
Changes in the behavior that may occur are irritability, lack of patience, loss of self-control, exhaustion. These symptoms are usually closely connected with previously mentioned physical symptoms. Also, they easily may be a symptom of an unrelated condition.
Other symptoms that you may feel
These are the symptoms that patients suffering from different types of brain tumor reported having:
- Strange smells – that other people do not seem to smell
- Pain in ears – almost like a middle ear infection
- Weight loss
- Long lasting drowsiness
- Poor body balance
- Trouble walking (especially in the morning and in the evening)
- Sudden lactation (secretion of milk)
- Sleeping problems
- Altered perception of touch or pressure
- Confusion with left and right sides of the body
- Problems with vision (double vision, blurred vision, inability to look upwards)
Keep track of the symptoms you may experience, as your doctor should be informed of the background of your ailment in order to appropriately address the situation. Your doctor will tell you if any additional hospital analysis is needed.