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World Brain Tumour Day 2021: Are Extreme Headaches Sign of Brain Tumour?

World Brain Tumour Day 2021: Extreme headache is one of the symptoms of brain tumour. Here's all you need to know about this and other symptoms of brain tumour.

World Brain Tumour Day 2021: Are Extreme Headaches Sign of Brain Tumour?

World Brain Tumour Day is observed on 8 June every day

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. World Brain Tumour Day is observed on June 8
  2. A brain tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells in your brain
  3. Strong headaches, blurred vision can be a sign of brain tumour

World Brain Tumour Day: A headache is a very common condition that causes pain, discomfort in the head or scalp, sometimes extending to the neck. They are considered common ailments that most of the time are not the signs of anything serious. Headaches can be mild or can cause severe pain that can cause difficulty in concentration and nausea. Any headache that is persistent and returns more than four times in a month needs to be checked by a doctor. It can be and indicative for underling problems like migraine, sinus and also a progressive brain tumour in some cases.

World Brain Tumour Day 2021: Is headache a sign?

A brain tumour is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain. They are mainly of two types: cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign) tumours. Brain tumour can begin in brain or in the form of cancer can begin in other parts of the body and spread to the brain.


Brain tumour growth, vary greatly. The growth rate as well as the location of the tumour determines how it will affect the function of the nervous system. Since the brain controls various activities and reflexes of the body like breathing, walking, talking, memory, emotions, thinking, personality and senses like sight, smell this abnormal growth can hamper almost all functions of the body.

Also read: World Brain Tumour Day 2021: All About The Prevention Of Brain Tumours

Symptoms of Brain Tumour

The signs and symptoms depend on the size, location and rate of growth of tumour. General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumour may include:

  • New onset or change in pattern of headaches
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe
  • Headaches in the morning on daily basis
  • Nausea or vomiting for no reason
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
  • Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion in everyday matters
  • Personality or behaviour changes
  • Seizures, especially in someone who doesn't have a history of seizures
  • Hearing problems
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Headache becomes more frequent and severe in brain tumour
Photo Credit: iStock

Headaches in Brain Tumour

Every patient's pain is unique and cannot be distinguished with others but headache associated with brain tumour can be:

  • Constant and are at worse in night or in the morning
  • Dull pressure type headaches to some people
  • Sharp pain type headaches
  • Pain can be localized to a specific area or can be generalized
  • Pain can be worsen while coughing, sneezing, or straining
  • Headache caused by tumour can be effective towards medication initially but become resistant to medication over time

Also read: World Brain Tumour Day 2021: Understanding The Importance Timely Treatment For Brain Tumour

When to See a Doctor?

Although most headaches are self-resolving and not a symptom of a serious underlying health condition but when a severe headache different from normal pattern of headaches persists then it is an alarming situation. Sudden and severe headaches are concerning and should be evaluated immediately. Any of the above mentioned symptoms of headache if persist or if there is any association with neurological problems then doctor must be consulted. The same precautions must be taken by those who have a previous cancer diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Doctors use many tests to find or diagnose a brain tumour and to learn the type of brain tumour. They also do test to find out if the tumour has spread to other parts of the body or not. Doctors also do test to find out the treatment for the disease. After detailed medical history and physical examination, following tests can be prescribed by the doctor:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Tissue Sampling/ Biopsy
  • CT Scan
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or PET-CT scan.
  • Cerebral Angiogram
  • Lumbar Puncture or Spinal Tap
  • Myelogram
  • Molecular Testing of the tumour
  • Electroencephalography(EEG)

Also read: Are All Brain Tumours Fatal? Expert Explains The Answer

Treatment

For treatment multidisciplinary team of doctor works. Treatment is done on the basis of size, grade, and type of the tumour. Also spread of tumour to other parts is considered as one of the factor for treatment. Basis on these, treatment can include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy

To summarize, Brain is a very complex organ and any disease associated with it should be taken seriously. If signs and symptoms of Headache are unusual then normal, it can be indicating towards brain tumour. For brain tumour, doctor can consider type of tumour suspected, signs and symptoms of patient, age and general health and results of earlier medical tests for choosing a diagnostic test and on basis of it treatment can be provided.

(Dr Vinit Suri, Senior Consultant, Neurosciences, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals)


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