Brain tumors: What early signs should you look out for?

Brain tumors sound scary and unfortunately, in most cases, they are a surprise. Here are symptoms that could serve as warning signs.

 Headache touching forehead (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Headache touching forehead
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Brain cancer is cancer that doesn't have preliminary screening tests. That's why it's so important to pay attention to warning signs. Here is what you need to know.

The UK's Brain Tumour Charity launched a campaign last month to raise awareness of brain cancer among children and adults, providing a list of some preliminary signs that may indicate the early development of a brain tumor. 

There are more than 100 types of brain tumors that are all quite different from each other in biological behavior and treatment methods. Some tend to affect younger people, others only affect older adults. In addition, some will experience dramatic symptoms depending on where the tumor is, while others may feel nothing at all.

For any concerns, reach out to your general practitioner. 

1. Seizures

 The brain (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY) The brain (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY)

If you have convulsions or an unexplained seizure, go straight to the emergency room. Doctors will decide if you need a brain scan.

2. Face/forearm/leg weakness on one side of the body

Weakness may appear suddenly as it does with a stroke, or it may become more noticeable over time. 

3. Problems with speech

Speech may become slurred, you might not be able to find the words you need to express yourself or might even say the wrong words. Difficulty finding a word at times is normal, but if it becomes consistent, worse or both, you should seek medical attention. 

4. Personality change

One symptom of a brain tumor may be appearing more distant, confused or struggling with tasks that one used to be able to do, like playing an instrument or paying bills online.

5. Changes in vision

Sometimes, brain tumors reduce can reduce the ability to see objects on one side of your face. If you have a noticeable change in vision, ask an optician to check your eyes and refer you to the hospital if necessary.

6. Difficulty reading or interpreting words

If it is getting harder to write emails or send texts, or understand the meaning of complex words even if you can read them clearly, but you can't interpret or understand them, consult a doctor.

7. Headache

Headaches are the symptom most people associate with brain tumors, but it's actually unusual for a headache to be the only symptom of a brain tumor. When it comes to worrying about brain tumors, doctors talk about "headache plus", meaning a headache accompanied by other symptoms.