Brain tumor and its early signs and diagnosis

When the cells in the brain start multiplying abnormally and rigorously, they form a mass that is medically addressed as a tumor. A tumor in the brain can lead to cancer and can, therefore, be fatal. However, a benign tumor does not become cancerous and can be treated. There are around 130 different types of brain tumors that have been named after the type of cell they developed from or the area in the brain they grew in.

Some common types of brain tumors are mentioned below:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Brain metastases
  • Choroid plexus carcinoma
  • Embryonal tumors
  • Ependymoma
  • Glioma
  • Meningioma
  • Pediatric brain tumors
  • Pituitary tumors

The symptoms of a brain tumor often depend on its location. This means that if the location of the tumor is close to the part of the brain that controls the eyes, a symptom will be a blurry vision. Therefore, the scope of the signs and symptoms of brain tumor can be vast. However, there are still some signs and symptoms that are common in maximum cases of brain tumor that can help one identify it in its early stages:

  • Seizure: Seizures as signs are often independent of the location or the size of a tumor. Any type of brain tumor can display seizures as the first sign of trouble. Additionally, like tumors, seizures can also vary in their type. Instead of whole-body convulsions, seizures can be confined to only one limb of the body or part of the face.
  • Clumsiness: This symptom can be recognized when someone is frequently struggling with balancing, missing their steps, fumbling with keys, and are clumsy with their hands and legs. Additionally, difficulty in speaking, swallowing, and controlling facial expressions are some common displays of clumsiness due to a brain tumor.
  • Numbness: Not being able to feel a certain part of the body should be something to keep an eye on, as it is a common sign of a brain tumor. Loss of feeling can also indicate that the tumor is located at the brain stem, the place where the brain connects the spinal cord.
  • Nausea: An unexplained and persistent feeling of queasiness or being sick to the stomach can also be an indication of a tumor.
  • Vision changes: Loss of vision, a blurry vision, and double vision have all been associated with brain tumors.

Risk factors of brain tumor
The cause of brain tumor is not clear, but doctors have concluded two main risk factors, namely, genetic and exposure to radiation:

  • Exposure to radiation: People who are exposed to a certain type of radiation develop an increased risk of brain tumor.
  • Family history: Having a family history of brain tumor can increase one’s risk of developing brain cancer.

Diagnosing a brain tumor involves several ways and tests that include the following:

  • Imaging tests: These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan.
  • Neurological exam: This includes checking vision, hearing balances, reflexes, and coordination.
  • Tests to find cancer in the body other than the brain: This is to ensure that the brain tumor is not a result of cancer that spread from another part of the body.
  • Biopsy: It includes testing of the collected sample of abnormal tissue. A biopsy is usually performed using a needle.