Abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cells is called a tumor and if it happens in the brain, it’s called a brain tumor. It can be categorized in
Primary – Brain cells grow and multiply abnormally
Secondary – when abnormal cells spread from the brain to other parts of the body. It is also known as a metastatic tumor. They usually spread through the bloodstream. Breast, kidney, and skin cancers often spread to the brain first.
Signs and symptoms
- Severe persistent headaches
- Migraine pain
- Pain may be worse in the morning and may be associated with nausea and vomiting
- Headaches that worsen with coughing, exercising, and changing position.
- Sudden onset of seizures or fits
- Irritability, drowsiness, apathy
- Numbness or tingling in the arm or legs
- Partial loss of vision or hearing
- Hallucination, depression, and mood swings
- Personality changes including abnormal and uncharacteristic behavior
- Speech difficulties
- Loss of sense of smell
Warning signs in women
- Nipple discharge
- Excessive body hair
- Lack of menstruation
- Being overweight or obese
- Unhealthy lifestyle including smoking and alcohol consumption
- As we age, the risk of getting brain tumor increases
- Frequent exposure to radiation from X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, nuclear plants, and mobile phones may trigger tumors.
- Exposure to certain harmful chemicals – for example – cadmium, arsenic compounds, nickel, tobacco smoke, and diesel exhaust.
- Cancer patients are at increased risk of contracting brain tumors.
- In some cases, brain tumors are genetically inherited. If there is a family history of brain tumors, the individual is at increased risk of the condition.
Pain in the back of the head – If the tumor grows large enough, pressing on the nerves or blood vessels can cause pain in the back of the head.
Significant characteristics of brain tumor headaches
- Will wake you up in the night
- Pain migrates as you change positions
- Pain does not subside with OTC medicines
- Pain worsens with coughing, sneezing, or straining
- May dull, sharp, or stabbing
- Localized to a specific area
- May last for days or week
However, some of these symptoms are also characteristics of obstructive sleep apnea and migraine. Thus, it is always important to note the onset, pattern, and characteristics of your headaches and consult the doctor for the same.
Treatment available for brain tumor
- Craniotomy – Opening the skull and removing the tumor
- Surgery using MRI – Doctors view the tumor and operate
- Radiation and chemotherapy – Slowing down the growth of brain tumor
- Proton therapy – Treat tumors of sensitive places
- Laser Interstitial thermal therapy – Implanting a laser catheter into the tumor and heating it to temperatures high enough to kill the tumor.
(Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other health professionals for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.)