7 Warning Signs of a Brain Tumor
October 22, 2021
Your chances of developing a cancerous brain or spinal cord tumor is less than 1 percent, according to the American Cancer Association. But that doesn’t always calm your fears when you’ve got a pounding headache. So what should you be looking out for?
Shabbar Danish, M.D. FAANS, Chair of Neurosurgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, offers seven of the more common signs of a brain tumor:
- Headaches. Everyone has a headache on occasion. Some people get them more often than others. But a headache that may signal something’s amiss is one that:
- Won’t go away with pain medication
- Makes you throw up
- Wakes you up from sleep
- Gets worse in the morning and lessens during the day
Pay particular attention to a headache if you have other neurological symptoms, such as weakness or loss of coordination.
- Seizures. A tumor can irritate parts of the brain, leading to a seizure. Seizures are often the first signal of a brain tumor. In fact, about three out of every 10 people with a brain tumor were diagnosed after having a seizure. During a seizure you may experience vision changes like seeing floating spots or shapes, uncontrollable jerking, a brief lapse in memory or confusion, and/or a tingling in the arm or leg.
- Changes in motor function. This could include trouble speaking, understanding, hearing, seeing, swallowing or remembering. It could also involve twitching, muscle-jerking, balance, stiffness or coordination issues.
- Mood changes. Brain tumors often cause personality changes, sudden mood swings and lapses in concentration.
- Weakness or numbness in the face, arms or legs. The brain plays an important role in feeling sensations throughout the body. So brain tumors can cause numbness and tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs and feet.
- Ringing in the ears. Ringing in the ears and dizziness can occur with some brain tumors, although these are usually indirect symptoms.
- Loss of smell. Loss of smell could be linked to a brain tumor.
When to Seek Care
If you think you might have a brain tumor, keep a diary of what’s going on. Be sure to include your symptoms, how often they happen and when. “It’s very likely that you don’t have a brain tumor, but any worrisome neurological symptoms should always be checked out,” says Dr. Danish.
Regardless of the rarity of brain tumors, it is important to recognize the symptoms and see a doctor if you think anything’s off. “Signs of a tumor vary, depending on the tumor’s location and size, and the early symptoms can be obscure,” Dr. Danish says. “But the quicker we find a tumor and start treatment, the better your outcome will be, so we’d always rather you come in if you think you may have a tumor, rather than brush it off.”
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our source: Shabbar Danish, M.D., FAANS To make an appointment with Dr. Danish or a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905.
- Learn about our complete lineup of neuroscience services and cancer services.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
What Are the Early Symptoms of a Brain Tumor?
Detecting a brain tumor early in its development can help improve outcomes. Our expert shares the early symptoms of a brain tumor, and when to seek help.
What Causes a Brain Hemorrhage?
Bleeding can happen either inside or outside the brain (but still within the skull.) A hemorrhage can directly injure the brain or secondarily damage the brain through pressure reducing oxygen and blood flow to the compressed area.
Doctors Explain Fluorescent Guided Brain Surgery
It’s much easier to see where you’re going when your path is well lit, and the same can be said for removing brain tumors.
How to Beat Brain Fog
Brain fog can be caused by lack of sleep, increased stress, certain foods in your diet or, in some cases, a medication or medical condition. Regardless of the source of brain fog, here's how you can help combat it.
Is Binge-Watching TV Bad for Your Brain?
The pandemic found us binge-watching show after show. But can watching too much TV be bad for our brain health?
What Causes Brain Freeze?
Our expert explains why you get brain freeze, and shares some tips on how you can prevent it and eat ice cream in peace!