Visual and speech disorders may be a sign of a brain tumor

Complaints such as sudden vision loss, walking problems, persistent headache, nausea and vomiting may be the harbingers of a brain tumor. It causes a frightening picture at the beginning due to the life risk it creates. brain tumorsBrain and Nerve Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Hakan Oruçkaptan gave comprehensive information about the symptoms and treatment of brain tumors.


Main symptoms of brain tumors

  • The patient has a seizure (episode) that has never happened before,
  • Loss of sensation or strength in a part of the body,
  • Short-term vision loss, double vision or hearing loss
  • Memory and behavioral disorders
  • Speech disorders, imbalance and gait problems
  • Hormonal disorders and related clinical symptoms (early puberty, growth in hands and feet, menstrual cycle disorders, hyperthyroidism, cortisol deficiency or excess…)
  • Nausea, vomiting with headache

What is brain cancer (tumor)? Causes, symptoms and treatment

Brain tumor symptoms (benign or malignant) may vary depending on the size of the tumor, cell type and the region where it is located. Symptoms of a brain tumor It occurs when the tumor begins to press on the brain and destroys the nerves. At the same time, some symptoms can be seen when the circulation of the cerebral fluid is interrupted by the tumor.

Most common brain tumor symptoms

Headache from brain tumor: Headache may be a symptom of a brain tumor, but it should be kept in mind that headache may occur for many different reasons such as stress, malnutrition, and dehydration of the body. Headache caused by a brain tumor is most severe in the morning hours. Waking up with a headache from sleep, not having a headache problem in the past, experiencing frequent headaches recently, headaches getting more frequent over time, nausea and vomiting with headache.

1 out of every 3 patients with brain tumor goes to the doctor with the complaint of headache. The headache caused by the tumor is quite severe and can last for a long time. The pain experienced in the morning may ease towards the noon hours. Headaches intensify and become more frequent as the pressure of the tumor on the brain increases. Bending over, coughing, even exercise can increase headaches.

Nausea from a brain tumor: Nausea caused by the tumor is more common in the morning. Nausea may be accompanied by vomiting and persistent hiccups.

Numbness: Drowsiness is usually seen when the brain tumor reaches a certain size. As the tumor grows and presses on the surrounding tissues within the skull, numbness occurs and more sleep than usual may be needed.

Vision and Speech Problems: Problems such as eye disorder, fluctuating shapes of objects, inability to see clearly, tunnel vision, double vision and loss of vision may occur due to the tumor. While speaking, problems such as forgetting the words, not being able to pronounce them properly and not understanding the spoken words can be experienced.

Tremors and Twitches: Muscle twitches and tremors that occur due to a brain tumor are usually seen in the hands, arms and legs. Some tremors can be seen throughout the body, in the form of seizures, and may cause the patient to lose consciousness for 1-2 minutes. If the brain tumor is successfully treated, there is a good chance that the tremors, seizures and muscle twitches will go away completely.

However, in some cases, tremors and muscle twitches may continue due to the damaged tissue of the brain despite the removal of the tumor. These tremors and muscle twitches can be controlled with epilepsy drugs. Problems in maintaining body balance and walking, mood swings and changes in the person’s character, inability to concentrate and memory problems, and loss of feeling in the arms and legs are among the other symptoms of a brain tumor.

Brain tumor diagnosis: MRI and CT

If the patient has findings indicating a brain tumor, the first thing to do is to perform a full neurological examination of the patient. If the examination findings suggest the possibility of a tumor, the patient should be treated with MRI and, if necessary, additional computed tomography. Although these examinations generally provide sufficient information in the diagnosis of tumor, functional MRI (fMR), MR-Angiography, tractography (DTI) and/or selective cerebral angiography may be required for the purpose of obtaining further information and planning the treatment. The aforementioned examinations usually provide nearly complete information about the nature and behavior of the tumor.

Malignant brain tumors spread quickly

Normal cells in our body age over time and are replaced by new cells. On the other hand, tumor cells multiply uncontrollably and cannot be removed from the environment like other old cells. Brain tumors are abnormal clusters of cells in or adjacent to the brain. These lesions occupy a place in the skull and therefore cause clinical signs or complaints by putting pressure on the brain.

Many neurological diseases may cause similar complaints and findings with brain tumors. Brain tumors can be classified into two groups as benign, that is, benign, and malignant, that is, malignant. Malignant tumors are cancers that develop in the brain, grow much faster than benign tumors and tend to spread aggressively to the surrounding tissue. Some benign tumors can transform into malignant over time.

Benign Brain Tumors: Noncancerous brain tumors have a clearly visible border and usually do not spread to surrounding tissues. Benign brain tumor removed by surgical intervention rarely recurs. They are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. What makes a benign brain tumor dangerous, even if it is not cancerous, is that when it reaches a certain size, it causes serious health problems by pressing on sensitive areas of the brain. Benign brain tumor has a risk of turning into cancer over time.

Malignant Brain Tumor: Malignant brain tumors formed by cancerous cells grow faster than benign tumors and can invade nearby brain tissue. Cancerous cells found in a malignant brain tumor may leave the tumor and spread to other parts of the brain and spinal cord.

Brain tumors can cause loss of neurological function

Whether benign or malignant, brain tumors can push the brain to one side by causing an increase in pressure in the head after they reach a certain size, or they can cause loss of function by invading the brain tissue or nerves. Different regions of the brain are responsible for different functions, and therefore, very different clinical findings may occur depending on the location of the tumor.

Determining cell type of brain tumor becomes easier

The definitive diagnosis of the tumor is made by histological examination of the tumor tissue. Immunohistochemical panels and genetic analyzes, which have been used in addition to the examinations made with standard methods in recent years, are very effective in determining the cell type and possible biological behavior of the tumor and play an important role in the selection of the ideal treatment scheme.

Treatment methods of brain tumors

The main purpose of tumor treatment; The aim is to destroy the tumor without compromising the patient’s quality of life or at least to prolong the disease-free survival as much as possible. The first and most important option in the treatment of brain tumors is surgical removal of the lesion.

Surgical treatmentThe determining factors are the type of tumor, location, age, general condition of the patient, and whether the patient has additional systemic problems that may affect the operation decision. With the complete or nearly complete removal of benign tumors, a long and healthy life can be achieved without the need for additional treatment. In malignant tumors, radiotherapy and chemotherapy should be given to the patient in addition to surgical treatment, and these methods reduce the probability of recurrence of the disease and prolong the healthy life span.

Severe headache may be a sign of brain tumor

Recently, radiotherapy devices equipped with stereotaxic targeting systems can significantly increase the effectiveness of treatment while reducing possible side effects. Due to the localization of brain tumors, the patient may develop loss of function before and after the treatment, and in this case, a physical therapy and rehabilitation program may be required. In a patient with a brain tumor, it is important to provide psychological counseling and assistance to the patient during and after the treatment of brain tumors.




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