Health

How To Spot Brain Cancer Before It’s Too Late

Brain cancer is the result of tumors that grow in an abnormal way in the brain. It’s crucial to spot the signs early because this disease… Darren Ryding - January 13, 2024

Brain cancer is the result of tumors that grow in an abnormal way in the brain. It’s crucial to spot the signs early because this disease can be fatal. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common signs of brain cancer. Many symptoms including headaches often occur for other reasons so don’t freak out.

Even tumors aren’t always a sign of brain cancer because they can be benign. That’s why it’s important to consult a doctor when we have concerns about our health. Early treatment is essential to ensure the best chance of survival. Remember, 70 percent of patients under 40 will survive brain cancer so it’s not the end of the world!

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Harvard Health

Headaches

There are many reasons why we experience headaches. Prolonged exposure to loud noises, stress, and dehydration are all potential causes. However, headaches are also a major brain cancer symptom. This is one that patients often miss in the early stages because they dismiss it as a simple migraine.

It’s easy to see why they’ll do this because most people don’t want to go to the doctor for just a headache. They’ll take some paracetamol instead and hope it goes away. Prolonged headaches with sharp, acute pain are a clear sign that something is more serious. That’s why checking it out is important (via Mayo Clinic).

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ACCO

Lactation

We associate lactation with pregnancy because women produce milk for their babies. This occurs after estrogen and progesterone levels fall. However, lactation can also occur when our body systems have imbalances. The mammary glands begin to produce lactose in a process called galactorrhea.

Overstimulating the nipples can be one cause of this or new medications. However, it can be more serious because tumors also trigger spontaneous lactation. This is something that women should check immediately because it’s not normal. The reason might be innocent but it’s better to know (via Healthline).

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Verywell Health

Loss of Balance

It won’t come as a surprise that loss of balance and vertigo are also common symptoms of brain cancer. This may happen while walking or even standing still. There are many other reasons why we can experience these symptoms. Often ear problems can cause a loss of balance as well as a dizzy sensation.

But it’s also commonly associated with brain injuries so that’s why it’s important to know. Don’t stress too much if there’s a loss of balance after standing up because this is usually due to an iron deficiency. However, if this is a regular occurrence then it’s worth identifying the cause (via Mayo Clinic).

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Live Science

Speech Difficulties

Unfortunately, this is one of the most serious symptoms of brain cancer. Speech difficulties are a sign that the patient is suffering brain damage and a general deterioration. We often associate speech problems with strokes but this is also a form of brain damage after disrupted blood flow.

It’s crucial to seek immediate medical care if a loved one is experiencing speech difficulties because something is seriously wrong. This is about limiting damage and potentially saving their life because it can degrade quickly. Speech difficulties are never a good thing except after a few too many drinks! (via Johns Hopkins Medicine)

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Saebo

Progressive Weakness

Brain injuries may cause a general progressive weakness in our overall physical states. People may notice that they don’t feel as strong as before and they’re suffering muscular dystrophy. This means that their muscles are shrinking and seemingly wasting away. It isn’t very comforting to experience so that’s why it’s important to find out the cause.

Neurological problems including brain cancer can trigger this progressive weakness. It also makes muscles more susceptible to damage so that’s essential for gymgoers to know. Ideally, patients will seek treatment before they experience this long-term symptom. However, that’s not always possible and chemotherapy may also trigger it (via Oxford Academic).

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The Guardian

Genetic Conditions

Unfortunately, evidence suggests that some people are more genetically predisposed to brain cancer than others. Neurologists are still debating the main causes of brain cancer. However, they are certain that they can link it to other conditions. Brain cancer is uncommon and that’s why it’s difficult to judge the survival rate.

Turner syndrome is one condition that experts know may produce brain tumors. They are also certain that tuberous sclerosis may trigger them. This is frightening but it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s not a guarantee that this will happen and if they’re receiving treatment for the other condition they may be fine (via The Guardian).

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Counseling Today

Seizures

Many people experience seizures for a variety of reasons. They may suffer from epilepsy or they’re going through substance withdrawals. Seizures occur when there is an interruption in the connections between the brain’s nerve cells. It’s not a surprise that brain cancer may also trigger seizures.

However, we should note that this is one of the rarest causes of seizures. Usually, there’s another reason like the ones listed above or something like drug abuse or even electrocution. But if there’s no discernable reason consult a doctor because there’s something wrong (via ABC).

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Health Jade

Altered Touch Perception

This condition is when everything feels differently when we touch them. It’s a disconcerting sensation that may happen for several reasons. However, degenerative brain issues may cause them including tumors. This means that our brain isn’t processing information properly and is sending strange responses.

Remember, it’s important not to jump to conclusions and make self-diagnoses. A trained medical professional will know the answer and advise appropriately. Altered touch perception is also a common symptom of diabetes so there are plenty of reasons why it is occurring (via Mount Sinai).

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Verywell Health

Radiation

Few people experience prolonged radiation exposure but it’s one of the most notorious cancer sources. Realistically most people’s only relationship with radiation is an x-ray or a CT scan. However, some cancer patients will also undergo radiation therapy and endure more intense radiation.

Neurologists noted that head X-rays can cause brain tumors but it’s uncommon. Furthermore, radiotherapy may also trigger them in unusual cases. Usually, the patient is between a rock and a hard place because they must undergo treatment for their original ailment (via Verywell Health).

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IFTAR

Partial Paralysis

When we think of partial paralysis we usually think of strokes. However, it is also a brain cancer symptom because they are both related to our neural passages. The tumor disrupts communication between the brain and the muscles. This effectively produces a stroke and partial paralysis.

Many experts identify strokes as a major complication in brain cancer patients. It’s not good news and it’s likely to affect victims for the entirety of their lives. There are different types of strokes with varying levels of severity. Unfortunately, most of them impact their overall quality of living (via NCBI).

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Raleigh Capital

Loss of Smell

Most people associate loss of smell with coronaviruses now but it can be a symptom of brain cancer. Don’t panic immediately because it’s likely to be something relatively minor. However, a prolonged loss of smell is an issue that may require a doctor’s intervention. This isn’t a common symptom but it can occur.

When brain tumors occur in certain parts of the brain it can trigger this response. These include the frontal and temporal lobes. Remember, it’s extremely rare so it’s very likely that it’s not serious. But it’s never too early to receive a brain cancer diagnosis because the condition requires urgent treatment (via Daily Express).

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CareWorks

Aging

Aging is not a symptom of brain cancer but it is a cause. Brain tumors most frequently occur in adults over the age of 85. However, it’s not all good news because some forms of brain cancer are more common in children. They remain rare but they are possible.

It’s important to live a healthy and active lifestyle when we’re younger to reduce the potential for health problems as we age. Experts remain uncertain about how brain tumors occur. Nonetheless, they do know that the elderly are more prone and vulnerable to its effects. (via The Guardian)

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Medical News Today

Not Breathing

This one might confuse people but it happens. Sometimes people stop breathing for a few moments without realizing it. This is known as apnea which usually happens when they’re asleep. It can last between 10 and 30 seconds before the brain comprehends what’s happening.

It won’t shock anybody to learn that this isn’t healthy and can even be life-threatening. Often victims won’t realize that they have a problem unless it happens when they’re awake. Sleep apnea can be a symptom of a brain tumor because the neural passages aren’t sending messages to the lungs. (via Cancer.net)

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Midland Health

Eating Difficulties

Dysphagia is a common brain cancer symptom that affects more than 50 percent of patients. This is a serious side-effect because it severely impacts their quality of life. In short, this is when a person finds it difficult to swallow. It’s challenging to eat or even to drink leading to more problems.

Malnutrition and dehydration are the two most immediate concerns. However, pneumonia is another potential risk that may emerge. This is very challenging and will also affect the patient’s capacity to recover from brain cancer. It’s a vicious cycle and one that is tough to recover from (via CVH).

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Only My Health

Nausea and Vomiting

This is one of brain cancer’s most common symptoms and one of the worst to experience. Often the swelling brain tumor creates pressure inside the skull and this causes intense pain. Vomiting may occur because it’s such an uncomfortable experience. However, there’s another reason why it may happen.

Some parts of the brain are responsible for nausea including the cerebellum. This makes it more likely that the patient will experience vomiting. It’s more likely to occur if they suddenly change position from lying flat to sitting up or at specific stages of the day (via John Hopkins Medicine).

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Power of Positivity

Weight Gain

One of the weirdest aspects of cancer diagnoses is that there’s no consistency in symptoms. For example, some people may experience weight loss and malnutrition through an inability to eat. However, others may have the opposite problem as they gain weight for several reasons.

Water retention is one of the main causes of weight gain but constipation can also be a factor. The brain fails to send messages to the digestion symptom and causes problems with passing waste. It’s very uncomfortable and can also be emotionally challenging for the patient to deal with. (via Maggies.org)

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Sutter Health

Inability to Look Up

One of the strangest signs of brain cancer is the inability to look up. Sometimes patients may experience pain if they turn their heads upward. This may happen if the tumor is affecting the pineal gland. The gland is responsible for excreting hormones throughout the body.

However, the placement means that it can cause acute pain in brain cancer patients. If this inability to raise their head progresses they should seek urgent medical attention. The cancer may progress and cause more serious side effects like strokes (via Penn Medicine).

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Harvard Health

Vision Problems

Here is another of brain cancer’s most common symptoms. The tumor may impact the optic nerve and this gradually damages the optic nerve. First, they may experience blurry vision but it will escalate. There may be a blind spot or even a complete loss of sight if it progresses without treatment.

This may seem terrifying to imagine because most of us can’t imagine living in a dark world. Seek treatment if blurry vision occurs because it may be a sign of something sinister. It’s crucial to stop the cancer from progressing to prevent long-term damage because it may be irreparable (via Moffit).

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SLMA

Family History

Some families appear to be more susceptible to brain cancer than others. Research shows that in a tiny percentage of cases, it can pass down through generations. However, hereditary brain cancer only occurs in 10 percent of diagnoses so the risk is low. Nonetheless, it’s wise to be aware of family history.

According to Healthline, brain tumors are the second most common form of cancer in children. Prospective parents with a history of brain cancer in their families should be aware of this. While it’s unlikely that they’ll experience it, it’s not impossible and it’s wise to be prepared.

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Personality Changes

All cancers can cause personality changes both before and after diagnosis. Firstly, the tumor may affect the cognitive systems and change how the patient processes different emotions. This is something that may happen subconsciously and only their loved ones will notice.

After diagnosis, they may also experience personality changes because it’s a stressful situation. Increased aggression and depression are known results that impact many victims. They must have a strong and understanding support network that tries to help them through their battle. (via Science Direct)

 

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Drowsiness

Brain cancer may cause fatigue because of the tumor’s effect on the organ. This is very difficult to treat until the overall prognosis improves. Usually, it takes about six months for patients to recover from extreme tiredness. Meanwhile, other factors may trigger fatigue too.

Unsurprisingly, a brain cancer diagnosis often causes stress and this may result in fatigue. Furthermore, other symptoms like cognitive difficulties and eating problems may have the side-effect of tiredness. Often several signs of brain cancer relate to and influence each other. (via The Brian Tumor Charity)

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Redcliffe Labs

Behavioral Changes

We may notice that somebody in our life is inexplicably behaving differently. There are many reasons behind this but if it’s a sudden and unusual change then it may be a sign of their deteriorating health. Maybe they’re strangely fixating on things or acting erratically .

This can be a sign of brain cancer because they aren’t processing thoughts as clearly as before. It’s a difficult one to approach because we don’t want to offend anybody by asking them if they have a health issue. However, it’s better to check in and potentially save their life than just to ignore them. (via Chateau Recovery)

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