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Symptoms of Brain Tumors

written by: BStone • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 8/21/2010

Are brain tumor symptoms easy to recognize? Find out about the general signs of a tumor in the brain.

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    headache What is a brain tumor? Who is at risk? What are common brain tumor symptoms? When healthy cells start multiplying uncontrollably a mass of abnormal tissue begins to form, otherwise known as a tumor. Brain tumors form within the skull, putting pressure on the brain, inhibiting normal brain cell activity, and even causing damage. While some growths are cancerous, not all are. If you have a benign tumor you do not have cancer, although a benign growth can eventually become malignant.

    Both children and adults can have one of these abnormal growths. There are different types of tumors that primarily affect different groups of people. There are also different symptoms of brain tumors as each individual growth is different in size, location, and severity. The following are fundamental signs to be aware of.

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    Common Signs — Headaches

    Headaches often come with a brain tumor, especially during the initial stages. Most people experience headaches, so how do you decipher a brain tumor warning sign pain with a regular headache? Brain tumor headaches are characterized by a change in severity. They may be terrible in the morning, right when the person wakes up, but then taper off as the day progresses. They can also get worse from physical activity, coughing, or even a change in position. Brain tumor headaches are sometimes accompanied by vomiting.

    Pay attention to your headaches. Are they different from typical headaches that you may have experienced in the past? Do they have a recognizable pattern? Do they respond to conventional and natural remedies? Are they accompanied by other possible symptoms of a tumor in the brain?

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    Changes in Mental Activity

    This is a more elusive symptom depending how pronounced the change is, but it can be a huge signifier if accompanied by headaches. Look for any type of different behavior or mental activity, including:

    • Memory problems
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Changes to speech, trouble communicating
    • Changes in temperament
    • Personality shifts

    These symptoms vary depending on where the growth is and what part of the brain is being affected.

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    Other Possible Symptoms

    Aside from headaches and mental/behavioral signs there are a number of possible symptoms. Some people who have a tumor will suddenly have a seizure. As many as one-third of patients will have a seizure, which could be characterized by convulsions, strange sensations, numbness, and a loss of consciousness. This is a definite reason to see a doctor to discover the underlying cause.

    Other problems include:

    • Lack of balance
    • Trouble hearing
    • Blurred vision
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
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    Symptoms in Children

    If trying to recognize brain tumor symptoms in children look for some of the same signs as adults may have — vomiting, headaches, seizures, vision problems, coordination problems, and behavioral changes. A child may also seem unusually tired and irritable. Also, there could be a change in head size. Remember, young children may not be able to express or explain their symptoms so try to ask questions and be aware of changes.

    If it is possible that a brain tumor is present go and see a doctor. It is so important to find out for sure so treatment options can be discussed and started immediately. A growth is only going to get bigger and more dangerous the more time that goes by. Know what the common signs are and react to them.

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    References

    National Brain Tumor Society <http://www.braintumor.org/patients-family-friends/about-brain-tumors/brain-tumor-faq.html#q3550>

    Mayo Clinic <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/brain-tumor/DS00281/DSECTION=symptoms>

    American Brain Tumor Association <http://www.abta.org/symptoms/13>

    photo by: Sarah G (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/dm-set/3171832971/sizes/m/in/photostream/>