Symptoms of brain tumour in teens are headaches, nausea, vomiting in the mornings, feeling irritated, problems with speech, blurred vision or double vision, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, problems with coordination, seizures and problems with balance.
What is a brain tumour?
Cancer is the debilitating condition where an abnormal mass of cells proliferate uncontrollably and damage the other healthy tissues. This abnormal mass of cells is referred to as a tumour.
Brain tumour is the condition where this abnormal mass of cells proliferates in the brain leading to certain brain dysfunctioning. Tumour can either start in the brain or spread from else where in the body to the brain, where these are called as mets.
A Guide for Symptoms of Brain Tumour in Teens
What is the cause for brain tumours?
A study has found that nearly 13% of brain cancers were diagnosed in patients of age below 20 years. As the fear for cancer inflicting a large number of people has become common, this is a concern for parents. Parents want to know the cause so as to protect their child from tumours.
The causes for brain tumours are not known and currently research is being done on these aspects. There could be a genetic predisposition that can increase the risk for brain tumour.
Certain viruses, mobile phones and signal towers are also suggested as possible cases for brain tumours. There’s a lot of research still going on but no proper evidence has been suggested yet.
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What are the symptoms of brain tumour?
The symptoms for brain tumours are different based on the area of brain affected. These symptoms can be suggestive of various other reasons and not just have to be of brain tumour.
- Tumours in the front part of the cerebrum can cause symptoms that affect personality, thinking and language skills.
- Tumours in that part of the cerebrum that control voluntary movements can cause weakness or numbness in a part of the body, particularly just one side.
- A tumour around the area of cerebrum concerned with speech can cause problems with understanding the words or even expressing them.
- Tumours in the back part of the cerebrum can cause problems related to vision.
- Tumours in the cerebellum affect coordination movements causing difficulty in walking, maintaining balance, changes in speech rhythms, problems with precise movements of hands, feet and fingers, tremors, lalling of speech that is defined as when the speech is unintelligible.
- A tumours around the pituitary gland can affect its hormonal secretions causing growth disorders such as gigantism or dwarfism, irregular menstruation pattern in females, loss of libido, etc.
- Tumours around the cranial nerves can affect the functioning of that cranial nerve such as affecting hearing, cause vertigo, facial numbness, weakness of facial muscles, weakness of tongue muscles, etc.
The brain is enclosed in the skull with a protective fluid around called the cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid is formed and drained at a regular rate each day. Due to the abnormal growth of tumour tissue in the brain, this can cause the pressure in the skull to rise leading to raised intracranial pressure. It can be either due to block in the free flow of cerebrospinal fluid causing its accumulation or the swelling of brain due to the tumour.
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General symptoms of brain tumour in teens are –
- Headaches – Generally the headaches worsen over time causing a great difficulty in getting any work done.
- Vomiting usually in the mornings
- Feeling irritated
- Problems with speech
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling lethargic and loss of interest in school and co-curricular activities.
- Behavioural changes
- Poor school performance
- Extreme fatigue
- Problems with balance
- Problems with coordination
- Tingling or weakness in the limbs
- Drowsiness or even coma
When to consult a doctor?
If you notice one or more of the above symptoms in your child, you need not be alarmed as it need not be a symptom of brain tumour. If the symptoms persist for long and gradually worsen over time then seek medical help.
Seizures are generally one of the first symptoms exhibited in case of a brain tumour. But many a times a brain tumour need not be the cause for a seizure. Consult your general physician or a neurologist to know more.
Treatment plans for brain tumour
A brain tumour is diagnosed by a CT scan or an MRI scan. Consult a neurologist who will work with an oncologist to come up with an effective plan to rid of the tumour.
There are different grades of tumours and treatment plans for each grade are different. Early intervention prevents the tumour from progressing onto a later stage and avoids further complications.
Usual plans include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. There should also be a strong emotional support provided for the child by the family as well as the doctors.
Brain tumours are caused by the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the brain tissue or by migration of these abnormal cells from different parts of the body. The symptoms for brain tumour vary depending on the region affected. General symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, vision troubles, lethargy, loss of appetite, changes in sleep pattern, extreme fatigue, behavioural changes, seizures, etc.
If one or more of these symptoms are noticed in your child then they do not confirm a brain tumour as it could also be due to other causes. So you need not be alarmed. If you notice that the symptoms are worsening and persisting for a long time, consult your general physician. A brain tumour is confirmed by a CT or MRI scan and a neurologist and oncologist can work together to come up with a treatment plan.