This month is Brian Tumour Awareness Month! Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
What are Brain Tumours?
A brain tumour occurs as a result of an abnormal growth or spread of cells from within the brain or its supporting tissues that can damage the brain or threaten its function.
Some types of tumour can occur around the edge of the brain and press on certain parts of it, whilst others can be more diffuse, spreading out and growing in amongst healthy brain tissue.
Brain tumours are divided into four classifications – grades 1 and 2 are low-grade, grades 3 and 4 are classed as high-grade. High-grade or malignant brain tumours are aggressive and can spread quickly in the brain, and are usually a serious threat to life. Low-grade or benign brain tumours are slower-growing and not usually immediately life threatening, but can still have a potentially dangerous impact on a person’s well-being.
Headaches are one of the main symptoms of a brain tumour, but of course there can be many reasons for having a headache. Headaches caused by a brain tumour tend to:
- Be severe and persistent
- Often worse in the morning
- Get worse over a number of days
- Give stabbing pains if you do anything that increases the pressure in your head, for example coughing, shouting, bending over or doing exercise.
Other common symptoms, which may initially come and go, include one or more of the following:
- Eye symptoms
- Continuing nausea, vomiting
- Extreme or sudden drowsiness
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or hearing loss
- Unexplained twitches of the face or limbs
- Seizures (fits or faints)
- Appearing to be lost in a deep daydream for a short while
- Loss of balance
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, especially if progressive and leading to paralysis
- Numbness or weakness in a part of the face, so that the muscles drop slightly
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, resulting in stumbling or lack of co-ordination
- Changes in personality or behaviour
- Impaired memory or mental ability, which may be very subtle to begin with
- Changes in senses, including smell
- Problems with speech, writing or drawing
- Loss of concentration or difficulty in concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
To learn more about Brain Tumours or learn how you can support, please visit braintumourresearch.org