Overview Of Brain Tumor
A Brain Tumor can be defined as the formation of a mass of abnormal cells in the brain. Brain tumors can be classified as malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous).
Warning Signs & Symptoms
There a wide range of brain tumor causes, signs and symptoms. They are dependent on the size and exact location of the tumor within the brain. So, it is very unlikely that one tumor will cause all of the listed symptoms.
Seizures are a symptom that occurs in about ⅓ of patients diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor triggers the abnormal firing of the neurons thereby resulting in abnormal movements. The seizures could be full-body or confined to a particular limb or area of the body. A seizure can also lead to visual challenges.
Headaches that are caused by brain tumors are usually more severe in the hours after waking and eventually get better as the day proceeds. The headache is caused by the intracranial pressure exerted by the tumor when the person is in the lying position throughout the night. These headaches get progressively worse and do not respond to over the counter medication. Headaches caused by brain tumors are usually also accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, weakness and double vision. Exercise, sneezing, and coughing may make the condition worse.
- Problems With Mobility And Dexterity
Issues with clumsiness, dexterity, fumbling with regular tasks, frequent loss of balance or missing a step, are common symptoms of a brain tumor. Some patients find that they are unable to control their facial expressions and swallowing.
- Numbness Or Weakness
Brain tumors can cause numbness in a particular part or throughout the body. Sometimes a brain tumor can cause a feeling of weakness or tingling sensation in a part of the body. Occasionally some patients experience tremors.
- Problems With Vision
Brain tumors can cause blurred vision, and during this, the affected person might view floating shapes and spots (aura). In some cases, the visual challenges are severe enough to cause the patient to walk into things or get into accidents. This is often referred to as bitemporalhemianopsia.
- Hearing Problems
Some patients with brain tumors experience problems with hearing. This could manifest as hearing loss or ringing in the ears.
- Speech Problems
The symptoms of brain tumors can include speech problems. Slurred speech, stammering, stuttering, difficulty with words and sometimes with comprehension are possible.
- Memory Problems, Personality Changes And Cognitive Decline
Brain tumors can cause behavioral and personality changes in a person. They can also cause problems with memory and thinking problems that cause confusion. The person may be slower in thinking and take longer to perform tasks.
Symptoms Based On Tumor Location
Pituitary tumors cause changes in the hormones in the body. These tumors can cause Gynecomastia or breast development in men. It can also cause galactorrhea or discharge from nipples, menstrual changes or lack of menstruation and Hirsutism or increase in body hair growth. Some people with pituitary tumors have enlargement of hands and feet, obesity or hypotension (low blood pressure). It can also cause heat or cold sensitivity. When a pituitary tumor compresses the optic chiasm it can cause vision problems such as tunnel vision and blurry vision.
- Motor Cortex
The motor cortex area of the brain controls the body movement. The right motor cortex controls the left side of the body and vice versa. When there is a tumor in this region it causes problems with communicating signals for movement from the brain to the rest of the body. This affects the functioning of the limbs, mobility, and dexterity.
Wernicke’s Area And Broca’s Area
The Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area are the regions of the brain that controls speech. The Wernicke’s area controls comprehension of speech while the Broca’s area, controls the muscles used for the articulation of speech. Tumors in these areas cause comprehension and speech problems respectively.
Brain Stem – The brain stem is the juncture between the brain and the spinal cord. When a person has a tumor in the brain stem region it can cause clumsiness and numbness in the face or any other part of the body.
When To Visit The Doctor
The symptoms of a brain tumor vary from patient to patient. All of the symptoms may not be present at the same time. So, if you are experiencing even one of the symptoms described, it is always advisable to seek immediate medical attention.