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What are some symptoms of skull base tumors?

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Some symptoms of skull base tumors include trouble breathing, swallowing and hearing, as well as headaches, blurred vision and an altered sense of smell, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Symptoms vary depending on the location, size and type of the tumor and may include other symptoms such as memory loss, nausea and vomiting, and loss of balance.

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Most patients find that symptoms of skull base tumors begin slowly, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Doctors don't diagnose most tumors until they begin creating pressure on vital brain structures such as the pituitary gland, carotid arteries or the optic nerve.

Skull base tumors include a variety of tumor types in the brain and pituitary gland, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. Some tumors begin in the skull base while others metastasize from elsewhere in the body. Although most tumors occur in the skull, occasionally they grow outside it.

Several bones called sutures compose the skull base, which is located behind the nose and eyes, informs Johns Hopkins Medicine. The proximity of tumors to vital structures and nerves that affect the body's ability to function make treatment challenging. Doctors typically opt for minimally invasive surgery to remove skull base tumors. The tumor may be removed through the nose or through an incision in the eyebrow or behind the ear.

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