Reports suggest over 300,000 new cases of brain cancer along with around 250,000 deaths across the globe in 2020 alone. Early detection of brain cancer is vital to prevent any complications or even fatality.
A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain. Brain tumors come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and locations, according to which the symptoms also differ.
Brain tumors can be malignant or benign. Malignant tumors are cancerous and spread fast without any clear boundaries. On the other hand, benign tumors do not have cancerous cells, spread slowly, and usually exhibit clear boundaries.
When tumors originate in the brain, they are called primary tumors. If cancer that affects other parts of the body spreads to the brain, it is known as a metastatic or secondary tumor.
With over 120 types of brain and nerve tumors, each individual may have different experiences. Brain tumors may form in various areas, originating from different cells, and their treatments also differ.
Warning signs and symptoms
Here are some general signs and symptoms of a brain tumor. General symptoms are overlapping symptoms seen across most types of brain tumors.
Frequent worsening headaches are a sign of brain tumor seen in around 50% of cases. These headaches may worsen with activity or early mornings.
Tumors in the brain strain nerves and blood vessels inside the brain, causing headaches.
But headaches alone do not mean the presence of a brain tumor. A vast array of diseases or lifestyle habits could also cause headaches.
Seizures are another commonly seen symptom of brain tumor and are often the first signs. About 50% of brain tumor patients report having at least one seizure.
Tumors strain nerve cells which impairs their ability to transmit electrical signals. Seizures may be a result of this impairment.
Again, having a seizure doesn’t necessarily indicate a brain tumor. Seizures can be due to several neurological issues, brain damage, or substance abuse.
Feeling a bit tired after a long day or a good workout isn’t what we’re talking about.
If you find yourself tired all the time, sleeping a lot, being weak overall, or with heavy limbs, chances are you are fatigued. When you are fatigued you may lose your ability to focus and get irritated easily.
As with the other symptoms, being fatigued alone doesn’t hint at the presence of a brain tumor.
Brain tumors can interfere with the brain’s normal functioning, consequently, result in sudden mood swings.
Along with mood swings, some people also report personality or behavioral changes. Mood swings may also be caused as a result of chemotherapy.
Brain tumors can affect memory and have an impact on thinking. People with brain tumors are likely to experience difficulty remembering things or feel confused.
Clumsiness may be an early indicator of a brain tumor. Always losing your balance, fumbling with keys, dropping things could be due to this clumsiness.
Fumbling words, difficulty with facial expression are also ways in which clumsiness is often seen.
Brain tumors may cause hormonal imbalances resulting in nausea or vomiting. Experiencing nausea or vomiting frequently without any reason may be a sign of a brain tumor.
The signs and symptoms mentioned here are generally seen with numerous types of brain tumors. Depending on the location, size, and origin of the tumor, other symptoms may be seen.
A tumor in the frontal lobe may cause additional memory problems or impair your logical reasoning skills. Similarly, there are specific symptoms for each type of brain tumor.
Isolated experiences or experiencing just one of these symptoms may not be due to a brain tumor. However, persistent symptoms require medical attention.