Symptoms of Brain Tumors
If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to cancer. Most of these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
Symptoms of brain tumors are classified into three categories (each are explained below):
- Sudden events – seizures and strokes
- Slowly increasing dysfunction of the involved brain area
- Generalized brain dysfunction
Focal seizures cause one part of your body, like an arm, to shake uncontrollably. Seizures may start out localized and progress to generalized. These are known as Jacksonian seizures.
Generalized or major motor seizures cause you to pass out and shake violently all over. You may lose control of your urine or bowels and bite your tongue.
Without any shaking, part of your body may just stop working, or you may simply lose touch with your surroundings for a period of time. This is similar to what happens during a seizure, although the mechanism is quite different. Seizures represent disturbed activity of part of your brain and are always temporary, whereas a stroke represents interrupted activity due to loss of blood supply and may be permanent.
Slowly Increasing Brain Dysfunction
A brain tumor may cause just about anything your brain does to slowly fail. As a tumor grows, changes may occur in several areas:
Generalized Brain Dysfunction
Generalized brain dysfunction may occur if pressure on your brain increases or the blood supply decreases. Symptoms may include the following:
- Dementia – progressive loss of cognitive and intellectual functions
- Trouble walking
- Difficulty controlling bowels and bladder
- Personality changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Change in visual acuity
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine , 14th ed. McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Textbook of Clinical Neurology . W.B. Saunders; 1999.
Last reviewed February 2003 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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