A brain tumor is widely considered a severe medical condition. Brain tumors can be described as a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain tissue, either benign or malignant. As the tumor grows, it can impact brain function and lead to various concerning symptoms and serious medical outcomes if not treated properly.
But identifying a brain tumor isn’t always easy. Not only is it located inside the brain, where it’s hard to find without medical tests, but the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other minor issues. Here are six symptoms of a brain tumor that could otherwise go undetected. Catching them early on could very well save a life.
It’s easy to become worried if every headache is a sign of a brain tumor, but most are harmless. Headaches can be caused by environmental factors or fatigue, but certain types of headaches can be considered an early warning sign of brain tumors.
If you’re developing new headaches in an unfamiliar part of the head, they can be cause for concern – especially if they’re increasing in severity or making it difficult to function. Keep an eye out if they cause other issues, such as nausea or seizures.
2. Vision Problems
Vision problems are common with age, and most can be resolved with a visit to an optician. But certain vision issues may stem from a deeper problem with the brain and can be caused by pressure on the optic nerve or other areas from a tumor. The most important signal is that these problems tend to be sudden rather than gradual.
Are you suddenly experiencing blurred vision or vision loss in a specific area? This is a common symptom of a brain tumor, and can often be resolved with medication to shrink it and decrease the pressure on parts of the brain that govern vision.
3. Hearing Problems
If you’re having sudden problems with your hearing, a brain tumor could be to blame. A specific type of tumor, an acoustic neuroma, grows on the vestibular and auditory nerves and can affect the signals transmitted from your brain to your ears.
Acoustic neuromas are benign tumors and grow slowly, but they can cause hearing issues long-term if not treated. The vestibular nerve also impacts your sense of balance, which means this tumor can often be identified first when someone finds themselves falling over more often or having trouble getting their bearings.
4. Speech Problems
When the tumor grows on areas of the brain that impact communication, one of the first warning signs can be difficulty with speech. This can manifest itself in multiple ways, including trouble finding the correct words, pronouncing words accurately, and in more severe cases, even reading, writing, or understanding what others are saying.
This is called aphasia and is caused by pressure on the parts of the brain that govern speech. Parietal lobe tumors are the most common cause of this ailment, and these can typically be either benign or malignant. The earlier these symptoms are checked out, the better the chance of a full recovery.
5. Feeling Confused
Anyone can have an off day due to fatigue or not eating in a while, but persistent and worsening confusion can signify a brain tumor. This is partly because your body is busy fighting off the tumor, sapping it of energy – but the tumor can also affect your mental processes.
In extreme cases, this can develop into delirium, which can resemble a person’s mental state when they severely lack sleep. They may act confused, nervous, or seem aggravated. For those experiencing it first-hand, it can feel like being in a fog that never seems to lift.
6. Personality Changes
When a brain tumor has progressed, the person fighting it can feel like a completely new person to those around them. They can lose their energy, become more passive or more aggressive, and lose interest in things they’ve been passionate about their whole life.
Part of this is the physical impact of the tumor, as the person fighting it is expending a lot of energy. But the change in brain chemistry and the pressure on the brain can also impact personality. This is usually reversed with treatment in most cases, although cases where brain surgery is necessary can leave a lasting impact.
Early Checks Save Lives
These symptoms can be the body’s early warning signs. Any one of them might help in detecting a brain tumor when it’s still small and easy to manage, and ultimately, getting answers at the first sign of trouble can save a life.