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Is It A Migraine Or A Brain Tumor

Headaches: Inexplicable And Resistant To Medicines

Is It A Tension Headache or Possible Brain Cancer? Simple 20 Second Test

A new persistent headache is a common sign of brain tumor, though not the first sign. About 50% of all brain tumor patients complain of headaches but not usually at tumor onset. Either the tumor puts pressure on the brain or blocks the drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid and raises the ICP, which results in headaches.

Its difficult to differentiate between a tumor-related headache and a normal one you might get because of sinus, flu, or migraine. 

Watch out for a new, persistent headache that is worse when you cough, bend, or sneeze and doesnt improve with your regular headache medicines.

  • The pain may be throbbing and resemble a migraine or may even be like a tension headache.
  • It was believed that a tumor headache is worst in the morning and gets better within a few hours, but this may not always be the case.3
  • The pain also shoots up when you do something that increases the pressure in your head, say coughing, sneezing, or bending.
  • Over-the-counter medicines, rest, or sleep do not help.
  • It might also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.4

Treatment For Brain Tumor Headaches

Treating a brain tumor headache is different from a tension headache or migraine, as the pain originates from the tumor pressing on sensitive blood vessels and nerves in the brain or because the tumor is affecting the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers may not respond to these types of headaches, which is why steroids are often the recommended treatment. Steroids can reduce swelling in the brain, targeting the cause behind the brain tumor headache. A patient should talk to their doctor about steroids to help with headaches and alert him or her right away if the medication stops working

Early Warning Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Lesion

Symptoms of a brain lesion depend upon what part of the brain is affected. Large parts of the brain can be involved in some diseases and there may be relatively few symptoms. Alternatively, very tiny lesions may be catastrophic if they occur in a critical part of the brain.

Initial signs and symptoms of a brain lesion are often non-specific and may include:

  • Worst headache of your life
  • Nausea
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    Symptoms Of Increased Pressure Inside The Skull

    A tumour can increase the pressure inside the skull. This is called raised intracranial pressure. It can be caused by the size of the tumour, or because the tumour is blocking the flow of fluid in the brain.

    The most common symptoms of this are headaches, feeling sick and vomiting.

    The headache may be worse in the morning or get worse when you cough, sneeze or bend down. Increased pressure can also cause symptoms, such as changes to your sight, feeling confused or problems with your balance.

    When Is A Headache A Sign Of A Brain Tumor

    If You Have This Type of Headache

    In order for a headache to be the telltale symptom of a primary brain tumor, it has to be pretty big, says neuro-oncologist Alyx Porter, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and co-chair of the Central Nervous System Disease Group. The skull is a fixed space, and it only allows for the brain, spinal fluid, and blood, she says.

    Plus, the brain itself cant detect pain. If anything else is in there, it creates pressure , so a tumor would have to grow quite sizable before you feel intracranial pressure, says Dr. Porter.

    All of this to say, a headache is rarely the first or only symptom of a primary brain tumor. Its much more common for people to have other neurological symptoms, possibly along with a headache, says Dr. Porter. These include seizures, vision changes, weakness on one side of your body, slurring of speech, among others. Youd probably know something was wrong before a bad headache hits.

    Besides, benign brain tumors tend to grow slowly, and while theyre no fun, they sometimes dont need to be removed, depending on how disruptive the symptoms are.Benign tumors are often completely curable or manageable throughout a long natural lifetime, says Dr. Brennan.

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    What Is Radiation Treatment For Brain Tumors

    Radiation therapy kills brain tumor cells with high-energy x-rays, gamma rays, or protons.

    Radiation therapy usually follows surgery. The radiation kills tumor cells that may remain in the area. Sometimes, people who can’t have surgery have radiation therapy instead.

    Doctors use external and internal types of radiation therapy to treat brain tumors:

  • Internal radiation therapy : Internal radiation isn’t commonly used for treating brain tumors and is under study. The radiation comes from radioactive material usually contained in very small implants called seeds. The seeds are placed inside the brain and give off radiation for months. They don’t need to be removed once the radiation is gone.
  • Some people have no or few side effects after treatment. Rarely, people may have nausea for several hours after external radiation therapy. The health care team can suggest ways to help you cope with this problem. Radiation therapy also may cause you to become very tired with each radiation treatment. Resting is important, but doctors usually advise people to try to stay as active as they can.

    Also, external radiation therapy commonly causes hair loss from the part of the head that was treated. Hair usually grows back within a few months. Radiation therapy also may make the skin on the scalp and ears red, dry, and tender. The health care team can suggest ways to relieve these problems.

    Questions to ask your doctor before starting radiation treatment

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    Overview Of Brain Tumor Headaches

    The majority of headaches are not worrisome, and while headaches can be especially burdensome , they usually go away eventually with time and/or medication.

    The headache of a brain tumor, however, does not go away. It’s constant even when you are sleeping. It can also be accompanied by other alarming signs, like seizures and/or fainting. That being said, headache is sometimes the only symptom of a brain tumor.

    How Migraine And Brain Aneurysm Symptoms Differ

    Headaches Caused By A Brain Tumor?

    Doctors often describe the head pain caused by a burst aneurysm as a “thunderclap.” The pain comes on in an instant, and it’s very intense. It will feel like the worst headache of your life.

    A migraine, on the other hand, tends to come on gradually. While the pain it causes may be intense, it usually doesn’t hit you all at once.

    The suddenness and intensity of a brain aneurysm are its hallmarks — and the best way to tell it apart from a migraine.

    Seizures are another symptom that may show up during a burst aneurysm. You don’t get that with a migraine.

    If you lose consciousness, it’s also a sign that you have a brain aneurysm, not a migraine.

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    When Is It Not Medically Necessary To Have A Brain Imaging Study

  • In people who meet the criteria of migraine, have no abnormal findings on examination, and who have not had a significant change in the headache pattern DO NOT need to have an imaging study. This was first stated in 1994 as part of an imaging guideline by the American Academy of Neurology, and has been adopted as an evidence based guideline. This has been restated in the Choosing Wisely guideline in 2013 here.
  • People with mild intermittent headaches which are unchanged and have no red flags usually do not need to have any studies done. 90% of the US population has a headache at some point.
  • As headache is such a common problem, primary care providers see the clear majority of sufferers and make decisions about evaluation and treatment. They often refer to neurologists in more difficult or unusual cases. Many doctors bow to patient pressure to obtain a scan, and many practice defensive medicine and order a scan despite the guidelines. If a scan is ordered to evaluate a headache disorder, MRI with contrast is preferred as it is a more sensitive test than CT and does not involve any radiation. However, as it is so sensitive, there are often abnormal findings unrelated to the headache that may lead to further testing. The most common abnormalities are small spots in the brain that may be mistaken for Multiple Sclerosis. These spots are seen in up to 30% of all migraine patients, and are usually an incidental finding with no clinical significance.

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    When A Headache Really Is A Brain Tumor

    Elizabeth CohenSTORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • “Ninety-nine percent of the time, a headache isn’t cancer,” a source says
    • In one case, a headache that was thought to be the flu bug, turned out to be a tumor
    • Sometimes when you fear a brain tumor is cancer, you’re not just being paranoid

    — It’s become a classic scenario: You have a headache and after Googling it, you find out a headache can be a sign of a brain tumor.

    If you rush to the emergency room suspicious that you have a tumor or something else deadly serious, chances are you’re being paranoid. But sometimes you’re not being paranoid — you’re being right.

    That’s what happened to Debbie Tonich when her son John’s headache, diagnosed initially as dehydration or a flu bug, turned out to be a cancerous tumor. In this case, paranoia — or some would call it mother’s intuition — paid off.

    “I think I saved his life,” Debbie says.

    John’s story

    One Sunday in February, shortly after a wrestling match, 16-year-old John Tonich, a high school sophomore, started having short, sharp headaches.

    “They lasted 10 seconds, and I’d have to take a second and sit down or go stand off to the side,” John remembers. “I had three or four of them a day.”


    “As we were walking out the door, she handed us a prescription for a CT scan, and said, ‘Just in case,'” Debbie remembers.

    “The worst possible tumor in the worst possible place”

    The Toniches never used that prescription.

    At the emergency room, John had a CT scan and then an MRI.

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    How Are Brain Tumors Diagnosed

    Quite often it is not a headache that leads to the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Depending on the location of the tumor, it may take months or even years for the lesion to increase in size sufficiently to produce symptoms. Some tumors are discovered accidentally, such as during routine screening for migraines or following a minor head trauma, though this is very uncommon.

    Frequently patients with brain tumors seek evaluation by a physician because of other symptoms. For example, they may suddenly or gradually develop visual disturbances, weakness on one side of their body, slurred speech, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, imbalance, dizziness, memory and/or cognitive problems, seizures, or even incontinence. An abnormal neurological examination is the most worrisome predictor of structural brain lesion.

    Brain Tumor Or Migraine

    Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Tumor

    Migraine Headache In Children Treatment – EMedicineMigraine Headache in Children Treatment . Self-Care at Home Sleep is the best treatment for a migraine. Sleep restores normal brain function, The doctor should also assure parents that the headache is not caused by a brain tumor or other life-threatening condition. … View This Document

    Headaches In BrainTumor Patients: Primary Or Secondary?Brain tumor is rare, occurring in only 2% of patients.3-5 Head- migraine presented with 1 year of left retroauricular discomfort and tenderness in a small round area behind the left mastoid felt likely to be consistent with a nummular headache. … Retrieve Doc

    Neuroimaging – Wikipedia, The Free EncyclopediaNeuroimaging includes the use of various techniques to either directly or intracranial disease , and injury, and; Functional imaging, which is used to diagnose metabolic Neuroimaging is not indicated for patients with stable headaches which are diagnosed as migraine. … Read Article

    Double-Helix Water For Migraine, Diabetes And BrainTumorAcupuncture Today April, 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 04 Share | Double-Helix Water For Migraine, Diabetes and Brain Tumor By Yin Lo, PhD What do a 25-year-old male with migraines, an 80-year-old lady with diabetes and a doctor with a brain … Fetch Content

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    Abnormal Physiological Changes: Large Limbs And Irregular Periods

    If your hands and feet are suddenly getting larger, even after youve crossed the growth years, scan for a pituitary tumor.

    A tumor in the pituitary gland can cause irregular periods, excessive production of breast milk, development of breasts in men, and excessive body hair. It may also lead to the enlargement of your hands and feet, obesity, and changes in your blood pressure.12 A drooping eyelid or a drooping mouth can indicate a tumor in the brain stem.

    What Are Brain Tumors

    A brain tumor occurs when abnormal cells form in the brain. In a healthy brain, cells follow a normal cycle of aging, death, and replacement by new cells. With tumors, this process is interrupted.

    The tumor cells continue to grow without dying even though the body doesnt need them. As the tumor grows it takes up space within the skull and interferes with normal brain activity.

    Tumors can cause damage by:

    • Increasing pressure in the brain.
    • Shifting the brain and causing it to push against the skull.
    • Invading and damaging nearby healthy brain tissue and nerves.

    Brain tumors can be benign or malignant .

    Benign tumors are non cancerous. They are typically slow-growing and have clear borders which separate them from healthy brain tissue. Spreading is rare. Benign tumors may be found in areas of the brain which control vital life functions and may still require urgent treatment. Around 60% of brain tumors are benign.

    A malignant brain tumor is a cancerous tumor in the brain. Brain cancer is the same as a malignant brain tumor. These are often life-threatening tumors which grow rapidly and aggressively spread to surrounding areas in the brain and central nervous system. Less than 40% of brain tumors are found to be malignant.

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    Ocular Migraine Brain Tumor

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    Selection Of Cases And Controls

    Brain tumour or headache

    As for selection of cases for this case-control study, we first identified 12,355 patients who had received a first-time diagnosis of a brain tumor code 191) between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2013. We excluded 1012 patients aged less than 18years. We further defined the date of receiving their first-time brain tumor diagnosis as the index date. In total, 11,325 patients with a brain tumor were included as cases in this study.

    As for the controls, we likewise retrieved them from the Registry of beneficiaries of the NHIRD. In total, 11,325 controls were randomly selected and matched with cases in terms of sex, age, monthly income $30), geographical location , urbanization level , and index year. While for cases, we assigned the year of the index date as the year in which the cases received their first brain tumor diagnosis, for controls, the year of the index date was simply a matched year in which controls had an ambulatory care visit. Furthermore, we indicated the first ambulatory care visit that occurred in the index year as the index date for controls.

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    Study Identifies Association Between Migraine History Brain Tumors

    According to a new study, prior migraine history is associated with brain tumors. While associated with both sexes, the risk is higher among men than women.

    Migraines and headaches often occur among patients with brain tumors and are the most common complaint as the initial symptoms among these patients. Based on their high prevalence, there has been speculation as to whether headaches and migraines should be treated as risk factors for the development of brain tumors or if they should be considered the first sign of brain tumors.

    According to a new study, prior migraine history is associated with brain tumors. While associated with both sexes, the risk is higher among men than women.

    As brain neoplasms are most treatable in their earlier stages, our results suggest to increase awareness of the possibilities of brain tumors among patients with migraine for both early detection and patient health, wrote the researchers. Appropriate adherence to screening and regular medical follow-ups after a migraine diagnosis might assist in early recognition of key symptoms of malignant brain tumors.

    These findings were a result of data coming from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, which identified 11,325 adults with a first-time brain tumor diagnosis between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2013. The study also included 11,325 unaffected matched controls.


    What Are The Different Types Of Headaches

    There are two major kinds of headaches: primary headaches, which include migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches; and secondary headaches, which are caused by underlying factors such as medical conditions. Both kinds of headaches are common in cancer patients; certain kinds of treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, can cause headaches.

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    When Should You See A Doctor About A Headache

    If you suddenly have the worst headache youve ever had, or if it comes with neck pain, vomiting, high fever, difficulty speaking, confusion, or numbness or weakness, head to the ER, because there are a number of things it could be that require immediate attention.

    But even when its not an emergency, if youve never had a migraine before, if it feels different than a migraine youve had in the past, or if it hangs around for a few days and OTC pain relievers dont seem to help, why not have it checked out? Your doctor will likely order an advanced imaging test, like a CT or an MRI, to ensure everythings looking normal, Dr. Porter says.

    Bottom line: You dont have to live with the pain. If a headache is interfering with your everyday life, see your doctor or a specialist, like a neurologist, to figure out whats going onbecause, chances are, its something other than a tumor.

    It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need

    Pin on Brain Tumor

    See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

    You try not to let your mind go there, but sometimes, it just does. You get a crippling headache, and you wonder could it be a brain tumor?

    Thankfully, headaches are rarely a sign of brain tumors.

    Headaches are rarely caused by a brain tumor. But if you do have a brain tumor, headaches are one of the first symptoms to show up.

    So, how do you avoid running to the doctor in a panic every time your head hurts? Heed the symptoms, experts say.

    “The brain doesn’t hurt. Brain tumors; however, may increase pressure that stretches pain sensitive structures in the head, such as membranes and blood vessels. This in turn may result in headaches” says Ania Pollack, MD, FACS, FAANS of The Clinical Neuroscience Institute.  “In addition , brain tumors may disrupt communication pathways in the brain leading to different symptoms.”

    As a result, someone with a brain tumor may have one or more of these symptoms:

    • Headaches that develop, come more frequently, or come and go
    • Steady headache pain that is more severe upon waking in the morning, but it may get better within a few hours
    • Persistent, non-migraine headache
    • Difficulty speaking or forming words
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Facial weakness or numbness

    Thankfully, headaches brain tumors are not the most common signs of headaches . In addition, brain tumors themselves are rare. But dont hesitate to see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the signs.

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    What Do Brain Tumor Headaches Feel Like

    Headaches are a very common ailment that most of the time are not a sign of something more serious. A lack of sleep, loud noise, brightness, even changing weather can cause a headache that, for the most part, can be cured with some rest or over-the-counter medicine. While this is true for the vast majority of headaches, they can sometimes be a symptom of a dangerous underlying problem like a brain tumor.

    “Many patients with brain tumors do experience headaches, ranging from mild to severe and unremitting,” says Lindsay Lipinski, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology and a neurosurgeon at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I estimate 50 to 60% of patients with brain tumors at Roswell Park experience headaches at the time of their diagnosis. They occur most often in conjunction with another neurologic problem, like a seizure or speech problem, that led to the diagnosis.”

    Symptoms Of A Brain Tumor Headache

    In its early stages, a brain tumor may have no noticeable symptoms. Its only when it grows large enough to put pressure on the brain or nerves in the brain that it can start to cause headaches.

    The nature of a brain tumor headache is different from a tension or migraine headache in some noticeable ways.

    For example, waking up frequently with a headache can be a sign of a brain tumor. Keep in mind, however, that other conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea or a hangover, can also cause morning headaches.

    But if you start getting frequent headaches, different kinds of headaches, or if the headaches change in severity, take note. These may indicate a brain tumor is present.

    Likewise, if youre not a person who usually gets headaches, but you begin experiencing frequent, painful headaches, see a doctor soon.

    Other headache symptoms associated with brain tumors may include:

    • headaches that wake you up at night
    • headache pain that changes as you change positions
    • headache pain that doesnt respond to standard pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen , or ibuprofen
    • headaches that last for days or weeks at a time

    Because the pain can be quite intense, brain tumor headaches are sometimes confused with migraines. However, a migraine attack can also trigger nausea and extreme sensitivity to light. Brain tumor headaches are usually accompanied by other signs.

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    Focus On Symptoms Not Perceived Risks

    Dr. Goadsby says patients are often concerned that brain changes correlate with stroke or cognitive dysfunction later in life. This is not the case, and Goadsby says in fact, the stroke risk for migraine sufferers become less prominent after the age of 45.

    Patients with migraine with aura face a small risk of stroke compared to population controls , or patients with migraine without aura, he says. Because of the low risk, Goadsby says migraine patients who have regular normal physical examinations do not need to get regular brain scans. He says that the pain of migraine attacks is the symptom that patients and their care teams should prioritize, not the possibility of lesions or the fear of increased stroke risk. It should also be noted that the presence of these lesions should not influence the use of any particular medication.

    Migraine is an inherited episodic brain disease, Goadsby says. It doesnt shorten life: it ruins it. Migraine patients do not have to be worried about long-term brain damage. It simply doesnt happen.

    To learn more, visit the American Migraine Foundation, where neurologists like Dr. Goadsby and others share information and resources about the disease, including the various treatment options available to people living with migraine and head pain.

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