What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Brain Cancer?
It can be devastating to learn that you or a loved one has an intracranial neoplasm, or what is more commonly referred to as a brain tumor. This is basically the formation of abnormal cells in the brain; growths could be benign or cancerous (malignant), which could give rise to brain tumor symptoms. Accurate information about symptoms of a brain tumor as well as brain cancer causes and symptoms is an important first step towards treatment and recovery.
Identifying early symptoms of brain cancer could mean the best chances of surviving the disease. We look at some of the most typical brain tumor symptoms, including brain cancer symptoms in men and brain cancer symptoms in women.
Signs of a brain tumor could be caused by pressure within the skull (intracranial hypertension) or due to dysfunction where the location of the tumor may cause damage to surrounding tissue because of pressure or infiltration. Below are some of the most typically seen symptoms of brain cancer in adults.
Most Common Symptoms of Brain Cancer Include:
- Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of brain cancer patients. These could be severe headaches that could be present in the morning or may get worse with activity.
- Seizures (convulsions) are another typical symptom. These symptoms and signs of brain tumors include repetitive or controlled movements such as twitches, spasms or jerking motions, or loss of consciousness, contractions and loss of control over bodily functions.
- Memory loss, personality changes, or even depression could also be symptoms of a brain tumor in some cases, though there are many other diseases or conditions that could cause these same symptoms.
- Unexplained fatigue, nausea, and vomiting could be other signs of a brain tumor.
Signs and Symptoms of Brain Cancer Specific to Location of Tumor
- Sensory changes such as hearing or vision changes could also be among the brain tumor symptoms that may start to manifest as the abnormal growth impinges on the areas of brain that control these activities such as the temporal lobe, occipital lobe, or brain stem.
- Facial weakness, numbness, difficulty swallowing, and double vision are symptoms that could indicate brain stem tumors.
- Changes in emotional state, memory, or speech could indicate problems in the frontal and temporal lobe of the cerebrum. Aggressiveness, cognitive problems, problems finding the right words could also be some of the symptoms brain cancer can cause. Those with a tumor could exhibit symptoms such as muscle weakness, paralysis, lassitude, or a loss of initiative and interest in activities of normal interest.
- Balance problems and problems with fine motor skills can result from a tumor growth in the cerebellum.
Metastatic Brain Cancer Symptoms
Metastatic brain cancer or secondary cancer that has invaded the brain originates from other organs. Here the cancer cells have leaked from a primary tumor and have reached the brain via blood vessels and/or the body’s lymphatic system. Symptoms for brain cancer of this type typically include:
- Memory loss or poor judgment; the patient may have difficulty solving problems.
- Personality changes are frequently noted symptoms of brain cancer — strange behavior, emotional fluctuation, and so on.
- Lethargy or a general feeling of being unwell may present.
- Falls and clumsiness may be noted as physical coordination starts to decline or because of muscle weakness.
- Changes in sensation such as tingling, numbness, or pain may also manifest.
Other potential brain tumor symptoms include vision changes, speech difficulties, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms of final stages of brain cancer may include increased sleep, delirium, difficulty swallowing, epilepsy, and agitation. However it is important to know that symptoms could vary greatly from case to case and that several factors influence this.
Brain Tumor Diagnosis and Treatment
It can be harrowing to think that you or someone close to you has brain cancer, but knowing the symptoms of brain cancer is an important first step. The next move is to seek out a definitive diagnosis of the disease. A definitive diagnosis is important because some symptoms may be caused by benign conditions. However, if the symptoms are not due to a benign condition, it is vital to find out what is causing them. Remember, early detection is one of your best weapons against an invasive disease.
If you or a loved one is presenting with symptoms, there are tests and exams that can be done to identify brain tumors, including a neurological exam as well as scans of the brain. One common procedure is a CT scan (computerized tomography), which uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body. Other scans include MRIs or fMRIs, (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), which are techniques that use a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body. Lastly, doctors can take an imagining test called a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) that uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to help look in the body and examine how organs are currently functioning. It may be necessary to perform a biopsy (where sample tissue is tested to check for malignancy or benignity) or a Lumbar Puncture (where fluid is extracted from the spine for study) to know more about what is causing the symptoms.
The Pasadena CyberKnife Center in Los Angeles can help the patient obtain quick, effective, and accurate treatment for brain tumors. This non-invasive treatment targets brain tumors with pinpoint accuracy and sub-millimeter precision; targeting even the hard to access areas of the brain. CyberKnife only requires one to five treatments and leaves patients with little discomfort or side effects. The treatment takes X-rays of the patients’ head in real time, using the patient’s bone structure as a reference to pinpoint the tumor’s location. No body-movement restrictors or head frames are required for CyberKnife treatment.
Learn More About the Cyberknife Option for Treating Brain Cancer
From the time when the early signs of brain cancer appear, there can be anxiety and worry about treatment, recovery, and management of the condition. We would like to address your concerns by talking you through all the treatment options available to you or to your loved one. Our specialists can thoroughly explain how CyberKnife can quickly, painlessly, effectively, and accurately target and treat brain cancer in you or a loved one. Our compassionate and highly informed representatives are standing by to take your questions at 626-768-1021 or to help schedule a consultation.