How Do You Know If You Have a Brain Tumor?


Symptoms of brain cancer manifest as vision changes, persistent headaches, seizures, chronic fatigue, loss of balance, facial numbness, personality changes and loss of memory, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. A doctor is likely to use imaging technology, such as computed tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging, to detect potential tumor growth inside the brain.

People with brain tumors may also experience changes to their manner of speaking, weakness in the limbs, aggression, difficulty swallowing, or hearing loss, adds the ASCO. Many of the symptoms of a brain tumor correlate to a specific area of the brain where the mass is located. For example, it is possible for a tumor that affects the pituitary gland to cause hormonal changes for a woman and create symptoms such as unexpected lactation and irregular menstrual cycles.

Additional testing methods include positron emission tomography scans, cranial X-rays, lumbar punctures, tissue biopsies and myelograms, explains the ASCO. Each test is chosen according to the symptoms present in a patient and the type and location of a brain tumor as estimated by a physician. Lumbar punctures and myelograms are especially common if it is suspected that brain cancer has spread through the spinal fluid to other areas of the body. Treatments for brain tumors include surgical removal, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and drug therapy designed to target cancer cells directly.