Brain cancer Symptoms
Headaches: This was the most common symptom, with 46% of the patients reporting having headaches. They described the headaches in many different ways, with no one pattern being a sure sign of brain tumor. Many - perhaps most - people get headaches at some point in their life, so this is not a definite sign of brain tumors. You should mention it to your doctors if the headaches are: different from those you ever had before, are accompanied by nausea / vomiting, are made worse by bending over or straining when going to the bathroom.(1)
Seizures: This was the second most common symptom reported, with 33% of the patients reporting a seizure before the diagnosis was made. Seizures can also be caused by other things, like epilepsy, high fevers, stroke, trauma, and other disorders. (3) This is a symptom that should never be ignored, whatever the cause. In a person who never had a seizure before, it usually indicates something serious and you must get a brain scan.
A seizure is a sudden, involuntary change in behavior, muscle control, consciousness, and/or sensation. Symptoms of a seizure can range from sudden, violent shaking and total loss of consciousness to muscle twitching or slight shaking of a limb. Staring into space, altered vision, and difficulty in speaking are some of the other behaviors that a person may exhibit while having a seizure. Approximately 10% of the U.S. population will experience a single seizure in their lifetime.
Nausea and Vomiting: As with headaches, these are non-specific - which means that most people who have nausea and vomiting do NOT have a brain tumor. Twenty-two percent of the people in our survey reported that they had nausea and /or vomiting as a symptom.
Nausea and / or vomiting is more likely to point towards a brain tumor if it is accompanied by the other symptoms mentioned here.
Vision or hearing problems: Twenty-five percent reported vision problems. This one is easy - if you notice any problem with your hearing or vision, it must be checked out. I commonly hear that the eye doctor is the first one to make the diagnosis - because when they look in your eyes, they can sometimes see signs of increased intracranial pressure. This must be investigated.
Problems with weakness of the arms, legs or face muscles, and strange sensations in your head or hands. Twenty-five percent reported weakness of the arms and/or legs. Sixteen percent reported strange feelings in the head, and 9% reported strange feelings in the hands. This may result in an altered gait, dropping objects, falling, or an asymmetric facial expression. These could also be symptoms of a stroke. Sudden onset of these symptoms is an emergency - you should go to the emergency room. If you notice a gradual change over time, you must report it to your doctor.
Behavioral and cognitive problems: Many reported behavioral and cognitive changes, such as: problems with recent memory, inability to concentrate or finding the right words, acting out - no patience or tolerance, and loss of inhibitions - saying or doing things that are not appropriate for the situation.