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Warning Signs of Brain Tumor

Warning Signs of Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth or a mass of tissue that develops within the brain due to abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. Headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, vision changes, hearing problems, behavioral changes, etc., are some of the common warning signs of brain tumors. The following write-up provides information on the signs that may be exhibited by a person who is affected by this medical condition.
Reshma Jirage
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
The human brain is a complex organ that controls a number of vital bodily processes that are essential for proper functioning of the human body. A tumor or an abnormal growth could develop in the brain due to uncontrolled division of cells. The tumor is referred to as primary when it begins in the brain. Secondary or metastatic brain tumors are the tumors that spread to the brain from other parts of the body such as the lung, kidney, breast, colon, or the skin.
Tumors could be benign or malignant. The benign (non-cancerous) tumors are slow-growing, and don't usually spread to the other parts of the body. More often than not, these can be easily removed through surgery. The malignant (cancerous) tumors not only grow faster, but can also spread to the surrounding tissue. These could even be life-threatening in nature. It is to be noted that even the benign tumors can cause damage to the brain under certain circumstances. A big, benign tumor can exert pressure on the brain tissue, thereby causing damage to the brain.
Common Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Tumor
Primary brain tumors have been categorized into more than 100 types, depending on the type of the cells that are affected or the part of the brain where the tumor originated. Astrocytoma, brain stem glioma, ependymoma, neuroblastoma, oligodendroglioma, medulloblastoma, meningioma, schwannoma, craniopharyngioma, germinoma, pineocytoma, and pineoblastoma are some of the types of brain tumors. Brain tumors can cause a host of distressing symptoms. The symptoms that may be experienced by an affected individual would depend upon the location, size, and type of the tumor. The most common warning signs of brain tumor include:

► Headaches
► Nausea and vomiting
► Mood changes
► Memory problems
► Seizures
► Tingling or numbness in the arms or legs
► Vision problems
► Problems associated with hearing or speech
► Problems with balancing or walking
Symptoms Caused by Increased Intracranial Pressure
The development of a brain tumor often gives rise to an increase in the intracranial pressure, which refers to the pressure within the skull. This could give rise to symptoms such as:

► Seizures
► Vomiting
► Nausea
► Headache
► Vision problems
► Sleepiness
Symptoms Based on the Location of the Tumor
The position of the tumor can also cause certain specific symptoms, as each part of the brain is responsible for controlling certain functions. When the tumor damages a part of the brain, then it affects the functional ability of the specific physiological processes which that particular part of the brain controls. Different parts of the brain are associated with varied functions, and the symptoms and signs of a brain tumor would therefore vary, depending on the location of the tumor.
Tumor in the Frontal Lobe
The cerebral cortex is composed of the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, or the occipital lobe. The frontal lobe is associated with cognitive planning, reasoning, problem-solving, judging, emotions, parts of speech, and movement. The presence of a tumor in the frontal lobe is most likely to cause symptoms such as:

► Personality or behavioral changes
► Impairment of cognitive function (impaired judgment)
► Impaired sense of smell
► Weakness on one side of the body
Tumor in the Parietal Lobe
The parietal lobe is associated with the recognition of sensation of touch, spatial orientation, speech, etc. The presence of a tumor in this region of the brain would give rise to symptoms such as:

► Difficulty in understanding speech
► Difficulty in writing
► Problems with reading and/or writing

Tumor in the Temporal Lobe
The temporal lobe is mainly associated with language, memory, and hearing. It is associated with auditory and visual perception. If a tumor develops in the temporal lobe, the affected individual is likely to experience symptoms such as:

Memory impairment
Speech difficulties
Seizures
Tumor in the Occipital Lobe
The occipital lobe is responsible for the processing of visual information. The development of a tumor in this region is likely to cause symptoms such as:

Partial or complete loss of vision in one or both eyes
Seizures
Other areas wherein a tumor may develop include the cerebellum, brain stem, meninges, or the pituitary gland.
Tumor in the Cerebellum
The cerebellum is a part of the brain that is associated with coordination and balance. If a tumor develops in this region, the affected individual is likely to experience symptoms such as:

Poor coordination
Speech problems
Involuntary movement of the eyeballs
Nausea and/or dizziness
Problems with balance
Tumor in the Brain Stem
The brain is connected to the spinal cord by the brain stem. The brain stem is composed of the medulla oblongata, pons, and the midbrain. It contains several control centers that play a vital role in facilitating body functions. The development of a brain stem glioma or tumor would give rise to symptoms such as:

Headaches
Difficulty in balance or coordination
Speech problems
Difficulty in swallowing
Drooping of the upper eyelid
Double vision
Muscle weakness
Cranial nerve palsy
Tumor in the Meninges
Meninges refer to the three membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. A tumor that arises from any of these membranes is referred to as a meningioma. Small meningiomas may remain asymptomatic, but large ones are likely to cause symptoms such as:

Headaches
Vision problems
Paralysis affecting one leg (when the tumor lies within the lobes of the brain)
Mood changes and/or paralysis on one side (when the tumor lies in the frontal lobe)
Coordination problems and memory-related problems (when the tumor lies in the occipital lobe)
Difficulty in reading and writing (when the tumor is in the parietal lobe)
Tumor in the Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland which is located at the base of the brain. When a tumor forms in the pituitary gland, it can affect the production of hormones that are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It could give rise to symptoms such as:

Hormonal imbalance
Tunnel vision when the tumor exerts pressure on the nerves involved with vision
Unexplained weight loss or gain
Lethargy
Mood swings
Infertility
High blood pressure
Diabetes
If medical assistance is not sought on time, the tumor could cause severe brain damage. It could even prove to be life-threatening. It is therefore essential to have a basic idea about brain tumor warning signs. If this condition is accurately diagnosed in the initial stages, the tumor can be removed through surgery in some cases, and other treatment options such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, etc., can also help to alleviate the symptoms. Later stages are very difficult to control, so medical help must be sought if a person has been exhibiting any of the aforementioned warning signs.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.