The brain controls the body. Each part of the brain has a role. When you have a tumor, the part of the brain surrounding it may be damaged as well as the affected brain cells. Then the brain can’t do its job properly.
What is a brain tumor?
A brain tumor is a mass of abnormal cells in the brain. There are many types of brain tumors. They may be primary (starting in the brain) or metastatic (traveling to the brain from another site in the body). All brain tumors are either benign (slow-growing, not cancer) or malignant (growing quickly, cancer). Brain tumors can cause serious damage even if they are labeled as benign. The damage will be related both to the type of tumor and to its location in the brain.
What causes symptoms?
Along with its location, the way a tumor grows can affect the symptoms you have. A tumor may affect the brain in one or more ways. It may:
Destroy normal brain tissue
Compress normal brain tissue
Increase pressure within the brain
Excite brain cells and produce seizures
Cause bleeding in the brain
Block the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that bathes the brain and spinal cord
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of brain tumors are:
Headaches that may be worse in the morning
Trouble thinking, remembering, or talking, or changes in personality
Vision, speech, or hearing problems
Seizures or convulsions
Paralysis, numbness, or weakness in one part or on one side of the body
Loss of balance, lack of coordination, or problems walking
Nausea and vomiting that may be worse in the morning
Hormone problems (many types)
There are many different types of brain tumors with many different treatments and outcomes. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your symptoms and whether they could indicate a tumor.
October 20, 2017
Rowland, LP, Merritt's Neurology (2010); 12th ed
Alteri, Rick, MD,Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.,Jasmin, Luc, MD