A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells that occurs in the brain. In general, brain tumors can be divided into two types based on their nature, namely cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign).
Meanwhile, in terms of location, brain tumors can be divided into primary brain tumors (brain tumors that start from the brain itself) and secondary or metastatic brain tumors (cancer spread from other parts of the body).
The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor in each person can vary widely, depending on the type, size, location, and growth rate. However, some of these conditions can be warning signs of a brain tumor to watch out for:
1. Change in headache pattern
Launching the Health Line , worsening headaches are a common symptom of a brain tumor, which affects about 50 percent of people with brain tumors. Tumors in the brain can press on sensitive nerves and blood vessels.
This can lead to new headaches or changes to the old headache pattern, such as the following:
- You have constant pain, but not like a migraine
- It hurts more when you first wake up in the morning
- This is accompanied by vomiting or new neurological symptoms
- It gets worse when you exercise, cough, or change positions
- Over-the-counter pain relievers do not help with headaches at all
But, remember, even if you have headaches that are more frequent than usual or more severe than before, it doesn’t mean you have a brain tumor.
You can experience headaches for a variety of reasons, from not eating enough or not getting enough sleep to head trauma or a stroke.
Brain tumors can suppress nerve cells in the brain. This can disrupt the electrical signal and cause seizures . Seizures are sometimes the first sign of a brain tumor, but they can occur at any stage. About 50 percent of people with brain tumors have at least one seizure.
However, seizures also do not always originate from a brain tumor. Other causes of seizures include neurological problems, brain disease, and drug overdose.
3. Changes in personality or changes in mood
Tumors in the brain can interfere with brain function, affecting your personality and behavior. Brain tumors can also cause unexplained mood swings.
- You used to be sociable, but now you are more irritable
- You used to be a motivated person to excel or be persistent, but you have turned passive
- You’re relaxed and happy for a minute, but afterward you feel upset for no apparent reason
These symptoms can be caused by tumors in:
- Certain parts of the cerebrum
- Frontal lobe
- Temporal lobe
These changes can occur early when the tumor appears, but you can also get these symptoms from chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. However, keep in mind that personality changes and mood swings can also be caused by mental disorders, substance abuse, and other disorders involving the brain.
4. Memory loss and confusion
Memory problems can be caused by tumors in the frontal lobe or temporal lobe. Tumors in the frontal or parietal lobe can also affect reasoning and decision making. For example, you may find that:
- It’s hard to concentrate and you get distracted easily
- You are often confused about simple things
- You can’t multitask and have a hard time planning anything
- You have short term memory problems
This condition can occur with brain tumors at any stage. This condition can also be a side effect of chemotherapy, radiation, or other cancer treatments. This problem can be exacerbated by fatigue . Apart from brain tumors, mild cognitive problems can also occur for a variety of other reasons. This condition could be the result of a vitamin deficiency, medication side effects, or emotional upset.
Fatigue is more than just feeling a little tired every now and then. Here are some signs that you may actually be exhausted:
- You feel so tired or tired most of the time
- You feel weak overall and your limbs feel heavy
- You often find yourself falling asleep in the middle of the day
- You lose the ability to focus
- You are irritable and disrespectful
Fatigue can be caused by a brain tumor that is cancerous. But fatigue can also be a side effect of cancer treatment. Other conditions that cause fatigue include autoimmune diseases, neurological conditions, and anemia.
6. Depression According to Medical News Today, depression is a common symptom among people diagnosed with brain tumors. Depression can present as:
- Feelings of sadness last longer than what seems normal for the situation
- Losing interest in the things you used to enjoy
- Lack of energy, sleep problems, insomnia
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or committing suicide
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
7. Nausea and vomiting
You may experience nausea and vomiting in the early stages of a brain tumor because the tumor can cause a hormonal imbalance. During the treatment of cancerous brain tumors, nausea and vomiting can be a side effect of chemotherapy or other medications.
Of course, you can experience nausea and vomiting for a variety of other reasons, including food poisoning, influenza, or pregnancy.
8. Weakness and numbness
Feelings of weakness can occur simply because your body is fighting off the tumor. Meanwhile, some brain tumors cause numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. This condition tends to occur on only one side of the body and can indicate a tumor in a certain part of the brain.
Weakness or numbness can also be a side effect of cancer treatment. Other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetic neuropathy, and Guillain-Barre syndrome are known to cause these symptoms as well. The best step is not to hesitate to see a doctor if you suspect you have a number of symptoms of a brain tumor.