An estimated 200,000 brain tumors develop in the United States every year. These tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous and may begin in the brain or metastasize there from other parts of the body. Brain tumors can range from small growths that are easy to remove to fatally large masses. Responding to warning signs early and receiving a speedy diagnosis holds the best chance of successfully treating tumors in the brain.
Everyone has a headache from time to time. Frequent headaches, however, should always be a sign to speak to a medical professional. When a tumor grows in the brain, headaches are more likely to be very intense, can occur during the day and night, and are associated with severe vomiting.
Problems with Balance and Walking
Another early symptom of a brain tumor is difficulty walking. Depending on which area of the brain is affected, an individual may stumble or be considered clumsy. Large or significantly placed tumors can render a person completely incapable of walking. Balance can also be adversely affected by brain tumors, and standing up or sitting down quickly could cause dizziness.
Changes in Mood and Personality
Issues in the brain affect a huge range of functions. Tumors that develop in the front area of the brain, just behind the forehead, can change the mood, behavior, or personality of an individual. This occurs due to swelling or the specific location of the growth in the frontal lobe. Many conditions and events can lead to personality changes, but a doctor should always investigate mental health issues that are not quickly resolved.
Loss of Concentration
People with brain tumors often experience a loss of concentration, confusion, trouble processing information, and disorientation. These can be very severe or hardly noticeable, and in the latter instance may take place for a long period before an individual recognizes a problem. If caused by a brain tumor, these symptoms are likely to persist or worsen over time.
Vomiting and Nausea
When experienced in conjunction with other symptoms, vomiting and nausea can indicate a brain tumor. Often, these signs are felt most strongly in the morning, which can lead some women to mistakenly believe they are pregnant. Persistent nausea and vomiting at any time of day is cause for a doctor visit.
Depending on where the growth is, a brain tumor can affect memory in a variety of ways. If the tumor develops in the frontal lobe just behind the forehead or the parietal lobe near the center of the brain, behind the frontal lobe, a person may experience short-term memory loss or lose their grasp on long-term memories. Brain tumors in these locations can also cause problems with memory retrieval.
Changes in Vision, Hearing, and Speech
When a brain tumor places pressure on the optical nerve, it can make sight become blurry or cause double vision. Growths in this location can also cause jerking spasms or twitching within the eye. In addition to vision issues, tumors can also lead to slurred speech and can even affect hearing.
When a new tumor begins to form in the brain, it can cause convulsions or seizures. Many people assume that this is due to the severity of the brain tumor, but this is not the case. Seizures can occur even in the early stages and may, in fact, be more likely to happen during this period. New-onset seizures are often the first clinical symptom of brain tumors.
Numbness or Tingling
Brain tumors can also lead to numbness or tingling in various parts of the body, often the feet and hands (also called neuropathy). Diabetes, MS, and other neurologic diseases are the most common causes of this symptom, but if a person is found not to have these conditions, doctors will begin examining other possibilities, including a brain tumor.
Fatigue can be a symptom of a vast number of conditions, for a simple reason: when something is wrong, the body is working hard to try to fix it, which means energy is depleted more quickly and the body tires faster and requires more rest. Fatigue caused by something like a brain tumor should be severe and long-lasting enough to prompt an individual to seek medical attention, especially when combined with additional symptoms.