Do not be afraid of brain tumors
Symptoms of brain tumors
Most brain tumors don’t require immediate intervention. You most likely have several days or longer to find the right medical team. If you have already been treated at a local hospital, consider reaching out to a hospital that specializes in treating brain tumors for your follow up care.
Symptoms of brain tumors can be headaches, seizures, difficulty thinking, weakness or loss of control of body, and problems with vision and balance. These symptoms could also point to problems besides a brain tumor.
Risk factors for brain tumors are largely unknown. A small percentage of brain tumors are linked to genetic disorders and known environmental hazards such as exposure to certain toxins or viruses. For the most part, brain cancer affects older adults, especially Caucasian men.
Some brain tumors will be found due to an emergency such as a seizure. Much of the time though, there will be less urgent symptoms that allow you to make a standard medical appointment. Your primary care physician may initially refer you to a neurologist, radiologist, or oncologist depending on your symptoms. For these
Appointments, bring important medical information, including surgeries you have had, your medical conditions, medications you’re taking, food and drug allergies you have, your family medical history, and your health insurance information.
Testing for Brain Tumor
Your first step will likely be a neurological exam, where your doctor looks for signs of unsteadiness or imbalance, changes in vision, hearing loss, and speech difficulty. Your doctor may do things like testing your eye movement by following a moving finger or have you walk heel to- toe in a straight line to test your coordination. Next, there will be some imaging scans of your brain. These scans can show the size and location of the tumor and allow the physician to predict the type of tumor prior to pathological confirmation with brain tissue biopsies. The most common scans for brain tumors are MRIs, as well as CT scans. Occasionally, your doctors may also use fMRIs, PET scans, or EEGs.
It is normal to feel scared. Your doctor may be calm because he or she likely has to do this every day, and your loved ones may seem calm because they are trying to be strong for you–but this is a big change in your life. It is normal to experience feeling fear and helplessness. Take a deep breath. Though these are highly important issues, it is not necessary to make choices in the instant. Give yourself time to process the information you’ve just been given. Initial reactions can include shock and denial, but will eventually lead to acceptance. Take only as much time as is necessary to make an informed decision before acting. Most people in nonemergency diagnoses take about two weeks to weigh their options before moving forward with treatment. Brain tumors are unpredictable, so even if you have caught cancer at an early stage, it is best to act promptly once you’ve made an informed decision.
The Most Common Brain Tumor
A brain tumor diagnosis can sound like a life-threatening situation. But although the symptoms of most brain tumors are the same, not all tumors are malignant. In fact, meningioma is the most common brain tumor, accounting for about 30 percent of them. Meningiomas can grow in different places. These tumors arise from cells in the meninges, the lining of the brain and spinal cord. So technically speaking, they’re not brain tumors at all since they don’t result from mutated brain cells. But they still grow inside your skull, which means there’s cause for concern. If a meningioma grows or causes swelling that presses against the brain or other structures in the skull, it can cause brain tumor symptoms. Meningioma symptoms depend on their size and location
Most meningiomas do not spread. It can be shocking for someone to be diagnosed with a meningioma — especially a large one — but these tumors are usually benign. This means that the tumor cells are not likely to spread to other parts of the body. That said, meningiomas can quietly grow for years without causing any problems — and they can get surprisingly large.