What Are the Symptoms of Brain Cancer?


Quick Answer

Seizures, headaches, weakness and clumsiness are among the more common symptoms of brain cancer, according to WebMD. Weakness and clumsiness may make walking or other activities more difficult. Other generalized symptoms include vision changes, nausea and vomiting, difficulty with speech and cognition, altered mental state and intellectual or emotional changes.

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What Are the Symptoms of Brain Cancer?
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Full Answer

Brain tumors may be primary, originating in the brain tissue itself, or secondary – the result of metastasis of another cancer, notes the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Secondary tumors are more common than primary tumors. Primary tumors are further classified as high grade or low grade. High-grade tumors tend to grow more rapidly compared to low-grade tumors; however, some low-grade tumors can change into high-grade tumors over time.

Brain tumors often affect children and older adults, though people of any age may develop them, states the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Men tend to develop tumors more often than women, though meningiomas, a tumor of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, are more common in women. Other risk factors include exposure to toxic chemicals, such as solvents or pesticides; family history; exposure to certain viruses, such as Epstein-Barr or cytomegalovirus; and exposure to ionizing radiation. Head trauma and seizure disorders are also linked to brain tumors.

Treatment for brain cancer involves surgery to remove the tumor entirely or reduce its size, called debulking, according to MedlinePlus. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy usually follow surgery. Utilizing physical and occupational therapy, palliative care and counseling can improve quality of life while living with brain cancer.

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