Knowing the Symptoms of Brain Cancer
Most people with brain cancer experience some form of headache, which is usually worse in the morning. Headaches may also get worse during periods when the patient is active. If headaches become increasingly severe, or if they develop a new pattern, they may be due to brain cancer.
People with brain cancer sometimes develop seizures or involuntary muscle movements. These may consist of simple twitches, or they may be severe enough to cause the patient to lose consciousness. If someone with no history of seizures suddenly begins having them, a trip to the doctor is prudent.
Nausea and Vomiting
These symptoms are more likely caused by brain cancer if they're experienced early in the morning. Because nausea and vomiting are also symptoms of many less serious conditions or diseases, it's easy for people to overlook them.
Muscle Weakness and Motion Difficulties
Depending on the location of the brain tumor, muscular weakness may develop on just one side of the body. A tumor in the cerebellum often results in balance problems and a loss of fine motor skills. A related symptom is a loss of sensation in either an arm or a leg, as well as the inability to move the limb.
Memory and Personality Changes
Tumors may affect a person's memory or personality if they occur in the area of the brain that handles these neurological functions. Patients may manifest behavior changes, such as aggressiveness, that don't line up with typical behavior, and they may find themselves confused about ordinary aspects of everyday life. Patients may show problems with concentration, alertness or the ability to pay attention. Some patients also have problems understanding or retrieving words.
Brain tumors that affect the occipital or temporal lobe of the cerebrum, the area of the brain that controls optics, may cause blurred or double vision. Some people also lose their peripheral vision. In extreme cases, patients may lose their vision completely.
Not every case of brain cancer displays symptoms. In fact, most brain cancer symptoms are the same as symptoms of other, less serious conditions, so it's important to receive proper testing and diagnosis. Brain cancer symptoms are often a result of the pressure the tumor puts on the brain or the spinal cord, but they can also be manifestations of damage to the brain done by the cancer. The location of the tumor makes a significant difference in the symptoms a patient displays.
While brain cancer sometimes has a sudden onset, it can also develop gradually, making it difficult for patients or their families to recognize what's happening. If you or a loved one experiences several of these symptoms on a persistent basis, consult a medical professional.