Last month we announced we were working with Brain Tumour Research ahead of its big fundraising activity – Wear a Hat Day.
You might recall that despite the fact that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, only 1% of the national spend for cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease.
But how can you spot the symptoms? The first thing to know is that brain tumours can present themselves with a whole variety of symptoms largely depending on the part of the brain is affected. But if you are experiencing multiple symptoms then be persistent in getting them investigated.
Most common symptoms are caused by an increase in pressure in the skull which is due to the growing tumour. This can result in headaches and/or vomiting/nausea. The headaches can be severe and persistent and often worse in the morning particularly if doing anything that causes exertion or coughing.
If you have this type of intracranial pressure you can also experience visual disturbances, convulsions (fits or faints particularly in the over 40s) and confusion.
Other common symptoms depending on which part of the brain is affected include:
- Loss of balance or co-ordination
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, resulting in stumbling or lack of co-ordination
- Changes in personality
- Impaired memory or mental ability, which may be very subtle to begin with
- Loss of intellect
- Blurred or double vision (an appointment to see an optician can help verify the cause
- Changes in senses , including smell and impaired hearing
- Problems with speech, writing or drawing
- Problems with averting the eyes upwards.
The most important thing is not to be alarmed at the presence of these symptoms unless they are persistent, but even then please bear in mind they can also be symptomatic of other illnesses or diseases.
But if you do suspect something is wrong then make sure you or your family member gets properly checked out. Early treatment can avoid acute complications later on.
Each area of the brain also controls particular functions so a tumour can also prevent a specific area of the brain functioning. For more information on symptoms on different parts of the brain, and more advice on what to do if you have persistent symptoms please visit www.braintumourresearch.org/symptoms