Do you know the signs of a brain tumor?
Most of us are familiar with signs of a stroke and heart attack. But do you know how to spot signs of a brain tumor?
First, it’s important to know that there are two types of brain tumors. Treatment of each varies.
Primary brain tumors start in the brain. Metastatic or secondary brain tumors start in other organs, such as lung or breast and then spread to the brain.
In adults, metastatic tumors are more common than primary brain tumors.
“Research, clinical trials, newer diagnostic tools and state-of-the-art surgical and non-surgical procedures and therapies have significantly improved outcomes for patients diagnosed with a brain tumor,” says Dr. Dean Karahalios, a neurosurgeon at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “There’s no way to prevent a brain tumor, but understanding common symptoms can help with early detection and lead to better outcomes.”
Common signs of a brain tumor:
- Headache: Most headaches are not an indication of a brain tumor presence. However, persistent headaches, headaches that increase in intensity, are worse in the morning and wake you up could be a symptom of a brain tumor.
- Weakness or numbness: A feeling of weakness or numbness in the arms or legs can be caused by a brain tumor. Typically, this will happen in only one side of the body.
- Blurry vision: A tumor can cause pressure to build inside your skull, leading to vision changes such as blurred or double vision. You may find it hard to read or watch TV or notice items appear closer than they are.
- Speech difficulties: Speech difficulties are affected by a brain tumor and will depend on the type, size and location of the tumor. Muscles controlled by the brain and nervous system can cause slurred, slow and strained speech.
- Personality changes: Tumors found in certain parts of the frontal or temporal lobes can cause unexplained mood swings. The frontal lobe controls cognitive skills such as problem solving, emotional expression, memory and language. The temporal lobe plays an important role in the formation of long-term memory. People who were previously easy to get along with might get irritated or begin arguments for no reason.
“If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor and get evaluated,” says Dr. Karahalios. “Although there are no early screening programs for brain or spinal cancer, paying attention to your body and developing symptoms are proactive steps you can take to improve your quality of life.”
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About the Author
Neda Veselinovic, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. She has more than five years of public relations experience and most recently worked with clients in the travel and hospitality industries. She prefers to spend her time with a cup of coffee and a good read and always welcomes book recommendations.