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When a Headache Really IS a Brain Tumor

When a Headache Really IS a Brain Tumor

Anyone who ever experiences a troublesome headache can’t help but wonder at some point if they might have a brain tumor. Most never act on that paranoia, but there are times when you should pay a little closer attention to your pain and perhaps contact your doctor to schedule an exam.

Anyone who ever experiences a troublesome headache can’t help but wonder at some point if they might have a brain tumor. Most never act on that paranoia, but there are times when you should pay a little closer attention to your pain and perhaps contact your doctor to schedule an exam.

Take comfort in knowing that while 70% of brain tumor patients have a headache when they are diagnosed, only about 8% are experiencing headaches as their first and only symptom.

Below are five warning signs to watch for:

Warning #1: You have never had this headache before.

Dehydration and allergies are common headache inducing culprits. However, if it is uncommon for you to get a headache or if it feels different than your regular headaches, it could be more serious.

Warning #2: Your headaches are accompanied by other symptoms.

It’s very rare that the only symptom you’ll experience is a headache when you have a brain tumor. Most patients also experience dizziness, nausea or vomiting. Some symptoms are more severe or unusual like seizures and weakness in the limbs.

Warning #3: Your headaches start upon waking in the morning.

Headaches that come on early and increase in strength throughout the day are generally associated with stress from your everyday life. Headache pain from a brain tumor generally comes on early, is accompanied by vomiting, and eases off as the day goes on.

Warning #4: Headache frequency increases over time.

Be watchful if your headache seems to bother you over the course of a few days, weeks, and even months. Regular headaches will fade away over time.

Warning #5: You just don’t feel right.

It’s possible that you won’t have any of these red flags and still have a brain tumor. You and your doctor know your body better than anyone. Don’t hesitate to insist on additional tests or diagnostic procedures if you feel like something is wrong. Guidelines are just guidelines. Pay attention to your gut feeling.

  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • American Medical Association
  • The Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland & Labrador
  • North American Skull Base Society
  • North American Spine Society