Most people feel repulsed by the very thought of the word brain tumor, but there is something called being prepared for all eventualities in life and there is no harm in learning a thing or two about brain tumors.

Brain tumors are basically a mass of abnormal cells growing in the brain; these can be either non-cancerous or cancerous. They can also be either primary brain tumors which originate in the brain or secondary brain tumors which originate elsewhere and spread to the brain.

The signs and symptoms associated with a brain tumor vary in accordance with its point of origination, its size, type, its rate of growth as well as age and health history. Some common signs include headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, numbness and seizures. Others may have problems with cognition, speech, coordination or vision. The onset of these signs and symptoms may be gradual or sudden-onset.

The signs and symptoms also vary greatly depending upon their location. Tumors growing close to the optic nerve produce vision problems while other tumors growing close to the frontal brain could affect the ability to think or concentrate. Similarly a tumor that’s located close to the part that controls motor function manifests signs and symptoms of interference in speech, weakness or numbness of some areas. And if the tumor is a large one, it could produce a multitude of symptoms due to the excessive pressure exerted.

Other signs and symptoms include:

Headaches: Abnormal headaches which become more frequent and severe.

Vision: Some tumors can lead to blurry or double vision. Others may lead to loss of peripheral vision or abnormal eye movements.

Speech: Some brain tumors can also lead to speech difficulties.

Hearing: There might be loss of hearing in one ear too.

Motor skills: Functions like balance, movement or coordination may become affected depending on where the brain tumor is located. It can even lead to facial muscle weakness when the cranial nerves are affected.

Cognitive problems: Brain tumors can also lead to problems like poor concentration, memory loss, language difficulties, confusion and problems with processing information clearly.

Seizures: An onset of seizures or convulsions in a person who never had them before could indicate a brain tumor.

Personality: Sometimes tumors in the front part of the brain could lead to changes in thinking, personality and behavior.

Hormonal disorders: Tumors within the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain and involved in production of numerous hormones can also lead to endocrine disorders that could affect the body.

Nausea/vomiting: When unrelated to any other event, this could suggest a brain tumor.

Do meet a doctor if some similar symptoms are troubling you.