Brain tumors are cancerous or non-cancerous growth of cells in the brain. Early diagnosis and timely intervention can help in tackling brain tumors. There are different types of brain tumors and several risk factors for them. But, for the disease to be diagnosed at the right time, you should pay heed to its signs and seek medical help accordingly.
What are the Signs of a Brain Tumor?
The signs of a brain tumor vary depending on the location, size, and rate of growth of the tumor. However, they can be broadly classified into general or specific.
1. General signs: These arise when the tumor exerts pressure on the spinal cord or brain. Some of the general signs of a brain tumor are:
- Headaches that become more severe and frequent with time
- Changes in vision, sensation, smell, and hearing
- Seizures, specifically when the person doesn’t have a history of seizures
- Memory problems
- Unexplainable vomiting or nausea
- Sleep issues
- Difficulty and confusion in performing daily activities
- Total or partial loss of consciousness and loss of awareness
- Behavioral or personality changes
- Problems with hearing
2. Specific signs: These arise when a particular region of the brain is not working properly because of the tumor. Some of these specific signs of brain tumors are:
- Headache or pressure near the tumor
- A tumor in the frontal lobe of a person’s cerebrum can lead to changes in judgment, sluggishness, or loss of initiative.
- Complete or partial vision loss can also occur due to a tumor in the temporal or occipital lobe of the cerebrum.
- A tumor in the cerebellum can affect balance and fine motor skills
- A pineal gland tumor can affect the patient’s ability to look upwards.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Most patients get a diagnosis of brain tumors when they approach their physician with signs like persistent headaches or other unusual changes.
If you are experiencing any changes that concern you, it is best to consult with your doctor. Your primary doctor may refer you to a neurologist who is someone specialized in treating neurological conditions.
Before going for the consultation with your neurologist, some of the questions you should ask yourself about your signs are:
- What exactly have I been feeling? What are my exact signs?
- Do I experience these signs constantly? If not, when do I experience these signs mostly?
- Do my habits or lifestyle make my signs worse or better?
- Do these signs affect my ability to perform daily activities?
- For how long have I been experiencing these signs?
After noting down the answers to all these questions, you will get more clarity about what to share with your neurologist.
Here are a few tips to prepare you for your consultation:
- Always check the certification of your neurologist and the accreditation of the hospital before deciding to receive treatment.
- Share all the signs you may be experiencing.
- Give information about your habits and the medicines you may have been taking previously
- Ask questions to your doctor
How is a Brain Tumor Diagnosed?
Your neurologist will perform a series of tests to diagnose a brain tumor or find out about the type of brain tumor you may be suffering from. These tests can also provide information about the extent of the spread of the brain tumor.
The process of diagnosing a brain tumor entails
Neurological examination and medical history
Your neurologist will collect information about your general health, medical history, family history of any disease, and the medicines you may have been taking. A neurological exam will be conducted to check for balance, vision, hearing, reflexes, coordination, and strength. If you are facing difficulty in any of these areas, then that could indicate a neurological problem., maybe because of a brain tumor.
Magnetic resonance imaging
This is a crucial imaging test for diagnosing a brain tumor. MRI or magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic fields to provide a clear and detailed image of the body. Depending on the results of your neurological examination, the neurologist will determine the type of MRI to be used. Usually, the doctor will perform an MRI of the spinal cord, brain, or both. Before the test, you will be given a dye that can be either injected into your vein or taken as a pill to provide a clear image in the MRI.
For making a final diagnosis, a biopsy will be conducted. This involves taking a small sample of the tissue which is then observed under the microscope by a pathologist for evaluating the cells and diagnosing a brain tumor. A biopsy is a definitive way of diagnosing a brain tumor.
Your doctor may also recommend other tests to assist in the diagnosis of brain tumors or to see if the treatment being given is working or not. These include CT scans, cerebral angiograms, lumbar punctures, and PET-CT scans.
If you are unsure about your diagnosis, it is best to consider taking a second opinion from specialists who have expertise in diagnosing and treating brain tumors. Some treatments like brain tumor surgery are life-changing and should not be chosen under confusion.
Avail Brain Tumor Treatment in Different Countries
Paying close attention to the signs your body is sending can help in the prompt diagnosis of brain tumors and other serious conditions. It is important that you discuss all the signs and understand your diagnosis well. Thus, you should consult with the best neurologists to understand how you can fight this disease.