Nutrition articles

7 warning signs of a brain tumor

22 October 2021

Your chances of developing a cancerous tumor in the brain or spinal cord are less than 1%, depending on the American Cancer Association. But it doesn’t always calm your fears when you have a headache.

So what should you be looking for? Danish Shabbar, MD FAANS, Chair of Neurosurgery at University of Jersey Shore Medical Center, offers seven of the most common signs of a brain tumor:

  1. Headache. Everyone has a headache sometimes. Some people get it more often than others. But a headache that can signal that something is wrong is one that:
  • Will not go away with pain relievers
  • makes you vomit
  • Wakes you up from sleep
  • Worsens in the morning and decreases during the day

Pay special attention to headaches if you have other neurological symptoms, such as weakness or loss of coordination.

  1. Seizures. A tumor can irritate parts of the brain, causing a seizure. Seizures are often the first signal for a brain tumor. In fact, about three in ten people with a brain tumor have been diagnosed after a seizure. During a seizure, you may experience vision changes such as spots or floating shapes, uncontrollable twitching, brief forgetfulness or confusion, and / or tingling in your arm or leg.
  1. Changes in motor function. This can include difficulty speaking, understanding, hearing, seeing, swallowing, or remembering. It can also involve muscle contractions, muscle twitching, problems with balance, stiffness, or coordination.
  1. Mood changes. Brain tumors often cause personality changes, sudden mood swings, and loss of concentration.
  1. Weakness or numbness of the face, arms or legs. The brain plays an important role in sensing sensations throughout the body. So, brain tumors can cause numbness and tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs and feet.
  1. Ringing in the ears. Ringing in the ears and dizziness can occur with some brain tumors, although these are usually indirect symptoms.
  1. Loss of smell. The loss of smell could be linked to a brain tumor.

When to seek care

If you think you have a brain tumor, keep a journal of what’s going on. Be sure to include your symptoms, how often and when they occur. “It’s very likely that you don’t have a brain tumor, but any worrying neurological symptoms should always be checked out,” says Dr Danish.

No matter how rare brain tumors are, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and see a doctor if you think something is wrong. “The signs of a tumor vary depending on the location and size of the tumor, and the first symptoms may be obscure,” says Dr Danish.. “But the sooner we find a tumor and start treatment, the better your outcome, so we always prefer that you come if you think you have a tumor, rather than have it removed.”

Next Steps and Resources:

The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.