Signs And Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of brain tumours vary and may include one or more of the following.

Headaches

Up to half of people with brain tumours suffer from headaches, but they are much more likely to be related to another benign condition. Headaches are not usually the initial symptom of a brain tumour or the only one experienced. Brain tumour headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms. Frequent headaches should not be ignored regardless of accompanying symptoms, especially those that worsen with sneezing, couching, or bending over.

Vomiting

Vomiting, especially in the morning and without nausea, can be a symptom of a brain tumour. Nausea, however, can also sometimes occur, it’s just not as common. Like headaches, vomiting is a very vague symptom that could be caused by a number of things. With non-specific symptoms, it is ideal to keep a symptom diary to help you and your doctor discover the triggers and patterns of such symptoms.

Personality or Mood Changes

Adults with brain tumours sometimes experience personality changes that are frustrating and can definitely interrupt daily living activities. Laughing at things that are not humorous, sudden increased interest in sex, temper tantrums, paranoia, and social decline are just a few of the possible personality changes that one may experience if they have a brain tumour. In contrast, personality changes can also mean an exaggeration of normal characteristics.

Seizures

Up to a third of people report having seizures prior to being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Seizures cause the body to shake and tremor in varying intensity. They can also cause one to stare for several minutes or have visual disturbance like flashing lights. Loss of consciousness can also occur. Though seizures are most likely caused by another condition like epilepsy or stroke, you must seek medical attention immediately if you believe you have had a seizure.

Cognitive Decline

Slower processing speed of the brain can be a symptom of a brain tumour. If you find it takes you longer to complete tasks than it usually does, report it to your doctor. This isn’t related to fatigue or lack of motivation. These are tasks that require thinking like simple maths, writing sentences, setting up a chess board, or following a recipe. People with brain tumours may find it takes great effort to complete the most basic task. Memory loss and difficulty concentrating can be typical with some brain tumours, as well.

Vision and Hearing Problems

Some brain tumours can cause visual or hearing disturbances that are difficult to ignore. Problems with vision can include seeing flashing lights, blurring, and floaters. Hearing disturbances can include one-sided hearing loss and ringing in the ears.

Physical Changes

An adult with a brain tumour may experience weakness on one side of the body. He may become suddenly “clumsy” - losing balance or walking into walls or stumbling. An abnormal gait may also be present. Coordinated movements may become difficult.

Speech Changes

Slurring of the words or slow speech can occur. A person with a brain tumour may say things that make very little sense, despite efforts to communicate with the correct words. Sentences may have words in the incorrect order or even include words that have no relevance. This lack of effective communication can be a frustrating symptom or people with brain tumours.

Please visit Headsmart for a variety of resources that can help you recognise signs and symptoms further still. Headsmart can be found here at: headsmart.org.uk

What to Do If Think You May Have a Brain Tumour

If you think that you may have a brain tumour, see your doctor. It is likely your symptoms are related to another condition, but these symptoms warrant an evaluation from your doctor. Do not be hesitant to share your concerns of having a brain tumour. This way your doctor can address your concerns early on and explain what he or she suspects is the cause of your symptoms and why.

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