Brain tumors are the 22nd most common type of cancer worldwide but rank number 12 in terms of mortality (1). That’s why it’s so important to recognize the symptoms of a brain tumor early on. May is brain tumor awareness month, and the most common signs of a brain tumor are things you should be aware of.
Anyone Can Get A Brain Tumor
Brain tumors can happen to anyone at any time, just ask Maria Menounos. Maria was diagnosed with a brain tumor while caring for her sick mother who had stage 4 brain cancer (2). (You might recognize Maria as a TV host that’s worked for a number of entertainment news organizations including Extra, Access Hollywood, and most recently E! News (2). Maria had to quit her position as co-anchor at E! News when she unexpectedly developed her brain tumor (2)).
Luckily, her tumor turned out to be benign and she is now slowly recovering from her brain surgery that removed the tumor (3). Maria postponed the MRI that detected her tumor several times despite the fact that she was experiencing brain tumor symptoms similar to what her mom had experienced (3). This was a total shock for Maria, and after receiving her diagnosis she stated, “I didn’t cry. I actually laughed. It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor – and now I have one too?” (2).
Benign VS Cancerous Tumors
7 Most Common Brain Tumor Symptoms
Headaches are the most common initial sign of a brain tumor (4). The headaches you experience when you have a brain tumor will not respond to headache remedies typically used (4). If you notice pattern changes in your headaches and that they are becoming more frequent, this can also be a sign of a brain tumor (5).
2. Vision Changes
Vision changes are a symptom indicative of a brain tumor that has formed in the occipital lobe, temporal lobe, or brain stem (6). Vision changes include loss of some vision, double vision, or blurred vision (6).
Persistent feelings of nausea, queasiness, or feeling sick to your stomach have been associated with brain tumors (7). If you experience unexplained nausea frequently, don’t ignore it!
If you feel lightheaded and have experienced clumsiness in your hands, arms, or legs, you should be concerned about the possibility of having a brain tumor (7). Having difficulty controlling facial expressions, verbally communicating, or swallowing are also signs of a brain tumor (7).
Experiencing weakness on one side of the body is indicative of a tumor in the frontal lobe area of your brain (8). The tumor will most likely be located on the opposite side of the weakness (8).
6. Memory Loss
If you’re having issues remembering things or often feel confused, this may be because of a brain tumor (7). Short memory lapses tend to be more noticeable than memory loss that takes place over a prolonged period of time, so pay attention to your symptoms (9).
This is the symptom that is usually the most alarming for those with brain tumors. Seizures are a sudden convulsion or attack brought on by unusual electrical activity in the brain (9). They are characterized by involuntary body movements and a change in consciousness (9). Never rule out a brain tumor as being the cause for a seizure.
If you’ve persistently experienced any of the common signs of a brain tumor, don’t put off going to see your doctor. The earlier you catch the brain tumor, the better your chance of survival.
(1) How common are brain tumors? (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.brainlab.org/get-educated/brain-tumors/investigate-brain-tumors/how-common-are-brain-tumors/
(2) Boedeker, H. (2017, July 3). Maria Menounos quits E! News after having benign brain tumor removed. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/2017/07/03/maria-menounos-quits-e-news-after-having-benign-brain-tumour-removed.html
(3) Majewski, L. (2018, July 26). Maria Menounos Shares Never-Before-Revealed Details About Life After Her Brain-Tumor Diagnosis. Women’s Health. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/g19975811/maria-menounos-interview-0/
(4) Brain Tumors in Adults. (2017, March 7). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/brain-tumors-in-adults#3
(5) Headache: Could It Be a Brain Tumor? (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/wellbeing/headache-could-it-be-a-brain-tumor
(6) Brain Tumor: Symptoms and Signs. (2017, November). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/brain-tumor/symptoms-and-signs
(8) About Brain Tumors: Symptoms. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.mcancer.org/brain-and-spinal-cord-tumors/about-brain-tumors/symptoms
(9) Siegfried, J. (n.d.). Brain Tumor Symptoms. Retrieved from https://brain-surgery.com/brain-tumor-symptoms-signs-to-watch-out-for/
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