Remember the scene from Kindergarten Cop when Arnie says, “I have a headache”, and the first thing that the kid blurts out is, “It might be a tumor?” Despite the humor in the movie, there is nothing humorous about brain tumor in real life, which is why the sudden, nagging thought, “It might be a tumor,” may be our brain’s attempt at self-preservation when faced with new and unexpected changes.
Brain Tumor Symptoms
When a new growth starts developing within the skull, it creates pressure on the other tissues, causing the following general symptoms:
- Headaches – especially when severe, persistent and different from those you have experienced before. If the headaches are strong enough to disturb your sleep, if they are paired with nausea and are worse in the morning or when you are coughing or bending over, you might have a cause for concern. However, headaches are usually not the only symptom, so make sure to look for others, too.
- Convulsive attacks and other types of seizures, whether they involve just one body part or the whole body.
- Impaired eyesight (loss of vision that comes and goes, floaters in the eyes, blurred vision) or similar problems with other senses.
- Abnormal or unexplainable sleepiness and feeling constantly tired.
- Incessant nausea and vomiting.
- Confusion and problems maintaining balance.
- Behavioral and personality changes. The changes may include sudden problems when trying to remember things or when trying to solve simple tasks.
- Experiencing weakness in one part of the body.
- Impaired speech.
- Losing control of certain bodily functions.
- Feeling of numbness, tingling or losing sensation in the arms or legs.
Some symptoms depend on the tumor’s location. For example:
- Problems with language comprehension, poor spatial awareness and visual perception and changes to the sense of touch or pain may indicate a tumor in the parietal lobe.
- Loss of smell and weakness in one side of the body may be caused by a tumor in the frontal lobe. In addition you might experience loss of initiative, changes in judgement and sluggishness.
- Problems with speech production, sudden personality changes, lowered inhibitions, inappropriate behavior and trouble reasoning or planning are symptoms of tumor in the temporal lobe.
- Loss of vision is a possible sign of tumor in the occipital lobe.
- Changes in heart pressure, irregular heartbeat and problems swallowing are signs of tumor of the brain stem, in addition to facial weakness and double vision.
- Bad posture, poor balance and twitchy or unusual muscle movement are signs of tumor in the cerebellum. Other symptoms include a stiff neck, flickering of the eyes, poor coordination and vomiting.
- Hormone-related symptoms, such as infertility, irregular periods, lactation (secretion of milk), high blood pressure, weight gain, mood swings, enlarged hands and feet, diabetes and tunnel vision may indicate a tumor in the pituitary gland.
- Inability to look up is a potential sign of a pineal gland tumor.