A brain tumor has no unique symptoms associated with it. These tumors can come in all shapes and sizes, and grow very silently. Given the importance of the brain in controlling all aspects of your physical and emotional development, every cell in the brain is vulnerable to this disease. This results in vast permutations and combinations of symptoms associated with brain tumors.
According to Dr. Theodore Schwartz, a neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, it is the location of the tumor that will determine the symptoms. For instance, a tumor that affects the part of your brain associated with movement of a limb may result in weakness to that limb. Similarly, a tumor affecting the part of your brain that controls eyesight can cause blurry vision. It is easy to confuse the symptoms of brain cancer with many other ailments, such as migraine headaches, depression, and even ear infections.
The Dreaded Diagnosis
On the bright side, brain cancer is found in less than 1% of the world’s population. However, it is also true that brain tumors do not have any distinguishing symptoms, making it easy to mistake them for everyday ailments. So, when do you see a doctor if headaches and exhaustion are the only symptoms you have? Knowing more about some masked symptoms of a brain tumor will help you make this call. Here are some common brain tumor symptoms to watch out for.
A Headache That Will Not Go Away
Differentiating between regular headaches and those caused by a brain tumor can be difficult even for experienced doctors. Dr. Mike Chen, an associate professor of neurosurgery at City of Hope National Medical Center, says that you should be concerned if the headache has appeared recently and just will not go away.
One characteristic of such headaches is that they worsen gradually and are usually present early in the morning, as soon as you wake up. It is believed that the pressure on the cranium due to lying in bed for many hours causes this. Irrespective of the size of the tumor, the pain can vary.
According to Santhosh Kesari, a neuro-oncologist and chair of the department of translational neuro-oncology and neurotherapeutics at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, a tumor that is small but growing fast can bring on a headache just as severe as one caused by a large tumor that is progressing slowly. Also, identifying the type of headache is of no help in determining whether someone has a brain tumor. The only thing to watch out for is new, persistent headaches that do not subside with home remedies or over-the-counter medicines.