A brain tumour is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. Brain tumours are graded according to how fast they grow and how likely they are to grow back after treatment. A person’s outlook will depend on a range of factors, including the positioning of the tumour in the brain. There are a host of symptoms associated with brain tumours – experiencing specific symptoms associated with headaches may be a warning sign.
According to Cancer Research UK, headaches are a very common symptom of illness. It’s unlikely a person has a brain tumour if a headache is their only symptom. But a person should see a doctor if they:
- Have very bad headaches (especially if you wake each day with a headache)
- Are having headaches more and more often
- Have headaches when you didn’t have them before
- Have headaches and sickness together
A person might also find that anything that increases the pressure in their head can make the headache worse. This could be:
- Sneezing or coughing
- Bending over
As Cancer Research UK explained: “The skull is made of bone, so there’s a fixed amount of space for the brain to take up. If there’s a growing tumour it raises the pressure inside the skull.”
According to the NHS, other symptoms of a brain tumour may include:
- Fits (seizures)
- Persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
- Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
- Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Vision or speech problems
The symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected, noted the health body.
Sometimes a person may not have any symptoms to begin with or they may only develop very slowly over time.
As Cancer Research UK noted, some symptoms of a brain tumour are very general and lots of other medical conditions can cause them.
“It’s unlikely to be a brain tumour, but always get your symptoms checked out,” advised the charity.
Reducing the risk
It is not exactly clear what causes brain tumours. But according to Mayo Clinic, doctors have identified some factors that may increase your risk of a brain tumour.
Risk factors include:
- Exposure to radiation. People who have been exposed to a type of radiation called ionising radiation have an increased risk of brain tumour. Examples of ionising radiation include radiation therapy used to treat cancer and radiation exposure caused by atomic bombs.
- Family history of brain tumours. A small portion of brain tumours occurs in people with a family history of brain tumours or a family history of genetic syndromes that increase the risk of brain tumours.
According to Cancer Research UK, being overweight or obese increases the risk of some types of brain cancer. Obesity means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. And being overweight is a BMI of between 25 and 30.
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