Brain tumor is abnormal growth inside the brain. Brain tumor can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). First, it’s important to know that brain tumors are not common. While studies show that more people are being diagnosed with brain tumors, it remains to be an uncommon occurrence.
Usually, benign tumors can be removed, and they seldom grow back.However, benign tumors can press on sensitive areas of the brain and cause serious health problems.
Malignant brain tumors are generally more serious and often are life threatening.They are likely to grow rapidly and invade the surrounding healthy brain tissue.Doctors sometimes group brain tumors by grade – from low grade (grade I) to high grade (grade IV). The grade of a tumor refers to the way the cells look under a microscope. Cells from high-grade tumors look more abnormal and generally grow faster than cells from low-grade tumors.
The causes of brain tumors are not known. They occur Brain tumors can occur at any age. Family history of brain tumor, exposure to radiation or chemicals in certain industries like health care, agricultural or electrical etc. increases the risk of brain tumor.
Brain tumor causes different symptoms depending on location, size and type of the tumor.
The warning symptoms usually as follows
- New onset seizures
- Persistent vomiting without any known cause (projectile vomiting), nausea
- Sudden changes in vision or hearing,
- Cognitive decline.
- Gradual loss of movement or feeling in an arm or leg.
- Sudden Changes in mood, personality, or ability to concentrate.
- Visual disturbance, i.e. Blurred vision, spots seen in the visual field, loss of peripheral vision or double vision.
- Sudden unexplained adulthood depression.
- Hormonal disorders like endocrine diseases.
Most significant symptom of brain tumor is headache but not any kind of headache. Surprisingly, headaches are NOT the initial symptom a person experiences if he/she has a brain tumor.
Tumor-related headaches have distinct characteristics that separate them from other conditions that cause headaches. It is a persistent and progressive headache.The pain can be described as dull, aching, or throbbing. Over time, the headaches may become more frequent, increasing in severity, and eventually be a constant occurrence that is not easily relieved.
So when your headaches begin to get worse or don’t go away, it is natural to wonder if the headache could be a symptom of something more serious, like a brain tumor. It might be described as worse in the morning and then better after a couple of hours. If they occur when a person is sleeping it will cause the person to wake up. The tumor usually worsens with activity, especially when lying down. They can also be worsened by coughing or sneezing.
If the headache associated with other nervous system dysfunctions for example limb weakness, vision disturbance, seizures, one should rule out brain tumor although these conditions can be caused by other condition.
Brain tumor usually is a life-threatening condition. It is important to understand its early warning signs. If brain tumor is accurately diagnosed in its initial stage, then it can be cured through appropriate treatments.