A brain tumor may be the scary conclusion a panicked person jumps to when experiencing constant headaches. While headaches can be a symptom of a tumor, it doesn’t always indicate cancer. Headaches can occur if you need glasses or are dehydrated as well. If you are experiencing any symptoms that you suspect are due to a brain tumor, talk to your doctor and find out for sure before jumping to conclusions.
The most important thing to know is that not all tumors are cancerous. While the term ‘tumor’ in itself has generally been reserved to describe a malignant (cancerous) tumor, it simply means a growth of cells. The mass of cells could be benign (noncancerous) or malignant.
What’s the difference between the two? A malignant tumor is made up of cancerous cells that are constantly growing, consuming all the nutrients and tissue in its path. A benign tumor does not invade the nearby tissue in your body the way a malignant one does – although this doesn’t mean benign tumors don’t have side effects, too.
You can feel the effects of a benign tumor simply based on its placement. If it is in your spinal cord, it could affect your ability to walk, but if it’s in your brain, it can affect your judgment or coordination. So, yes, tumors have symptoms beyond headaches. You might experience muscle weakness, clumsiness, or even seizures.
Keep in mind that a common type of brain tumor is one that has spread from another place in the body. This is called a metastatic brain tumor. These kinds of tumors grow if you have cancer cells somewhere else in your body that has spread to your brain. Or, tumors may be caused by a primary brain tumor, especially if you are not noticing symptoms elsewhere in your body.
Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you suspect could be caused by a brain tumor or another condition. Brain tumors aren’t necessarily a life-ending diagnosis. Your doctor can help assess your condition and help you plan the best course of action.
For more information or a second opinion, contact Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery. If you’re experiencing neck, back, or leg pain, call us today at (303) 790-1800 for a consultation or use our online request-an-appointment form.