About Brain Tumors: Symptoms
In some cases, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy may help to relieve any of these symptoms. In addition,
a steroid medication (dexamethasone) may be recommended by your doctor to help with these symptoms:
HeadachesHeadaches are common in the general population, but the key feature of headaches related to a brain tumor is that they are different from a person's previous pattern of headaches. The headaches caused by a brain tumor usually occur often, sometimes, daily. For reasons that are unclear, some people with brain tumors have a lot of headaches while others never experience headaches. Pain relievers may be recommended.
SeizuresA seizure is an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. What happens during a seizure depends on where it originates in the brain and how far it spreads throughout the brain. Common seizure types include the following:
- A grand mal seizure causes loss of consciousness, jerking or twithcing of all four limbs, sometimes injury to the tongue or mouth, sometimes urinary incontinence. It is almost always followed by a period of extreme sleepiness.
- A complex partial seizure causes loss of consciousness, often with the person appearing to be staring off into space, unable to respd to stimuli, sometimes with abnormal movements of the face or hands.
- Simple partial seizures can be of various types. One type involves abnormal movements of the face, neck, arm, and leg on one side, without loss of consciousness. Another causes loss of the ability to talk for a brief time. Other types can cause unusual experiences such as déjá vu (the feeling of "I've been here before"), sensations in the abdomen, visual changes, or sensations on one side of the body.
Treatment of seizures is almost always with anti-seizure medications. Your neuro-oncologist is experienced at treating seizures and will know the available anti-seizure medications including the pros and cons of each.
Problems caused by impairment of specific brain regionsThe problems can include:
- Weakness on one side of the body. A tumor that causes this is most commonly near the main motor area in the frontal lobe on the side of the brain opposite the weakness.
- Sensory loss on one side is most commonly caused by a tumor in the parietal lobe, located behind the middle of the brain on the side of the body opposite the sensory loss.
- Visual symptoms can be of various types. One of the more common is visual field loss, often causing difficulty seeing objects in the left or right visual field. This can be caused by tumor involvement near the optic nerves (behind the eyes and under the brain), in the parietal lobe, or in the occipital lobe (in the back of the brain).
- Word-finding difficulty (aphasia) is usually caused by a tumor in the left frontal or temporal lob
- Difficulty walking can be caused by tumors in many locations in the brain.
Problems such as these sometimes benefit from speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.