Brain tumors are one of the most feared diagnoses in medicine, due to their high mortality rate. However, studies have shown that early detection is key to improving patient outcomes and survival rates. In this article, we’ll explore 5 lesser-known symptoms associated with brain tumors that require further evaluation. Knowing these symptoms can be very beneficial for those looking to be proactive about their own health and well-being. We’ll look at how some of these subtle signs indicate a checkup may be needed, helping to equip you with the best precautionary advice there is!
Each year in France, approximately 3,500 new cases of brain tumors are diagnosed, representing 2% of cancer cases. According the brain institute, these tumors lead to nearly 2,940 annual deaths, or 2% of cancer deaths. Thus, the fight against these tumors constitutes a major challenge for the Leon Berard Centerspecialized in the research and management of these pathologies.
Brain tumor: What is it and how does it form?
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain and/or spinal cord. It can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). These tumors are usually caused by the uncontrolled growth of normal cells in the body, which form a mass. There are many types of brain tumors, depending on the type of cell affected and the location of the tumor in the brain.
Some tumors are primary, that is, they form from cells located in the brain, while others form from other parts of the body and spread to the brain through metastasis. Brain tumors can also be classified by their grade, which indicates how quickly they are likely to grow and how likely they are to spread.
Cause, symptom, risk factor, … How to recognize a brain tumour?
The exact cause of most primary brain tumors is unknown, but certain risk factors have been identified that increase the likelihood of developing a tumor. These include in particular:
- Genetic mutations passed down through families.
- Exposure to radiation or certain chemicals.
- Previous treatment with chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancers in other parts of the body.
Symptoms associated with a brain tumor can be:
- Epileptic seizures.
- Behavioral changes.
- A slowing down of movements.
- Speech difficulties.
Diagnosis usually involves imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) or MRIs to detect any abnormalities, followed by a biopsy to further analyze tissue samples taken from the tumor. Treatment options vary depending on the type and stage of the tumor, but may include surgery followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
The 5 telltale signs of brain tumors that should not be overlooked.
Auditory hallucinations are one of the common telltale signs seen in patients with brain tumors. These hallucinations occur when the patient hears voices or noises that do not actually exist. This is because the tumor can affect areas of the brain responsible for hearing and interpreting sounds. Auditory hallucinations can be particularly disturbing to the patient, as they can make it difficult to distinguish between real sounds and those that are simply the result of the tumor.
Loss of interests:
Another common symptom of brain tumors is loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities. This can include disinterest in work, hobbies, social relationships, or even daily tasks. This is due to changes in regions of the brain that regulate emotions, motivation, and engagement with activities. This loss of interest can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life and can also lead to symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
Frequently forgetting things:
Brain tumors can also cause memory and concentration problems. This may be due to increased pressure on regions of the brain responsible for memory and information processing. Affected patients may have difficulty retaining new information, recalling past events, or even following an ongoing conversation. This difficulty in remembering things can affect the patient’s daily functioning, as well as their quality of life and self-confidence.
Sudden growth of hands or feet:
In some brain tumors, sudden growth of the hands or feet may be seen. This phenomenon, known as acromegaly, is associated with dysfunction of the pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing and regulating many hormones in the body. This gland can be affected by a tumor, leading to excessive secretion of growth hormone, resulting in abnormal growth of certain parts of the body. Acromegaly can lead to joint pain, numbness, and decreased mobility, making treatment of the underlying tumor important.
Vision and eye disorders:
Vision and eye disturbances are also a potential sign of the presence of a brain tumor. Patients with brain tumors may experience visual disturbances such as blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, or the appearance of blind spots. They may also experience eye pain, watery eyes, or droopy eyelids. These symptoms may result from pressure exerted by the tumor on the optic nerve or other areas of the brain responsible for processing visual information.