Brain Tumors: Primary
DescriptionAn in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of brain tumors.
Brain tumors produce a variety of symptoms ranging from headache to stroke. They are great mimics of other neurologic disorders. Symptoms occur if the tumor directly damages the nerves in the brain or central nervous system or if its growth imposes pressure on the brain. Some gliomas develop gradually and symptoms may be subtle for a long time, making an early diagnosis difficult.
Headache is probably the most common symptom of a brain tumor. It should be strongly emphasized, however, that everyone has headache, and they rarely represent an underlying brain tumor. Headaches caused by brain tumors may vary depending on the location, and can include some of the following features:
Gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, are also common. Nausea and vomiting, in fact, often occur in children with brain tumors and in all people with brain stem cell tumors.
Seizures occur in between 15% and 95% of patients, depending on the location of the tumor.
Sometimes the only symptoms are mental changes, which may include the following:
Other Significant Symptoms
Other important symptoms include the following:
Symptoms Associated with Specific Tumors
Specific symptom syndromes may help identify the tumor. The following are some examples.
Symptoms of Brain Stem Gliomas. Sudden onset of symptoms that include vomiting (usually just after waking), a clumsy walk, muscle weakness on one side of the face, difficulty in swallowing, slurred or nasal speech, as well as impaired hearing or vision.
Symptoms of Glioblastoma Multiforme. Rapid onset and worsening of symptoms that include headaches, seizures, memory loss, and changes in behavior.
Symptoms of brain tumors that indicate an emergency condition requiring prompt intervention include the following: