What are the symptoms of brain cancer?
The symptoms of brain cancer depend on the size and location of the brain tumor. Brain cancer shares many symptoms with several less serious conditions, especially in the early stages.
Many of these symptoms are incredibly common and unlikely to indicate brain cancer. But if you’ve been experiencing these symptoms for more than a week, if they’ve come on suddenly, if they’re not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications, or if you’re alarmed by any of them, it’s a good idea to have them checked out by a doctor.
Many children with brain tumors experience headaches before their diagnosis. But a lot of children have headaches, and most of them don’t have a brain tumor. One red flag to watch out for: a headache that’s worse in the morning. This is partly because the pressure in the brain increases when you’re lying down, and a tumor can make that worse.
2: Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are two common signs of the flu or flu-like illnesses. However, in rare instances, these symptoms can be due to a brain tumor causing increased pressure inside the brain. If these symptoms persist or coincide with a headache, ask your child’s pediatrician for an expert medical opinion.
A sleepy child doesn’t usually cause for alarm. But pay attention to your gut instinct. If your child is acting lethargic, or extra sleepy, for no apparent reason, call your doctor for guidance on whether further evaluation may be necessary.
4: Vision, Hearing or Speech Changes
Depending on a brain tumor’s location, it can affect vision, hearing and speech. Of course, many children have challenges in these areas that have nothing to do with a brain tumor. Still, sudden changes in how your child sees, hears or talks should be evaluated by a medical professional.
5: Personality Changes
Personality changes can be a completely normal (if frustrating) part of parenting. In rare cases, they can be due to a brain tumor that’s affecting the cerebral cortex. If your child’s mood swings or personality changes seem sudden or severe, tell your child’s pediatrician.
6: Balance Problems
If a tumor sits near the brain stem, it can cause balance problems. Tumbles and falls are a regular part of life for most toddlers. But severe or worsening balance problems in young children warrant a call to your doctor. If your older child suddenly has a hard time keeping his or her balance, a doctor can help you determine why.
When a brain tumor sits on the surface of the brain, it can cause seizures. Many actions can trigger a seizure, including laughing. If your child is experiencing seizures, you should see a doctor. The cause may be a tumor or something else, but seizures must always be evaluated.
8: Increased Head Size
When babies are young, their skull bones haven’t fused (or grown together) yet. Because these bones are still malleable, a brain tumor could cause their head to grow in abnormal ways. If you notice a bulging on one side or any other severe changes to your baby’s head shape, your doctor can help you decide whether it requires further evaluation.
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