Cancers and Tumors

Brain Tumor Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Our brain is the control center for all aspects of our body. So tumors in the brain can have a wide range of effects. Brain tumors can affect your child's thought, senses, learning, memory, feelings, movement and organs.

The symptoms your child has will depend on factors like the type of tumor, where it is in the brain and how much it has spread. Usually brain tumor symptoms develop gradually. Sometimes they start suddenly.

These are some of the symptoms that may occur in a child who has a brain tumor. The same symptoms can also be caused by other health problems. So it's important for a child with symptoms like these to see a doctor to find out the cause.

  • Trouble with movements, such as walking or writing
  • Loss of balance
  • Being numb or weak in part of the body or unable to move part of the body
  • Slow speech or trouble speaking
  • Changes in vision, hearing or other senses
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache in the morning, or headache that goes away after vomiting
  • Feeling sleepy for no reason or having a change in energy
  • Changes in personality, mood or behavior
  • Seizures
  • Weight loss or gain for no reason

Brain Tumor Diagnosis

To find out whether your child has a brain tumor, the doctor may want your child to have pictures taken of the inside of her head, such as a CT (computed tomography) scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan.

These are called "imaging studies," and they create a picture of the brain so the doctor can look for signs of a problem.

For a clear diagnosis, doctors may need to perform a biopsy . This helps tell whether a tumor is cancer and what type of tumor it is.

Based on what they see, doctors may "grade" your child's tumor. A higher-grade tumor is one that grows faster and poses greater danger to nearby tissues. A lower-grade tumor grows more slowly. It may still be serious even if it's a lower-grade tumor.

If the tumor is cancer, doctors may do more tests to detect whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your child's body.

They may do a lumbar puncture ,(also called a spinal tap), using a needle to remove fluid from the spinal column so it can be checked for cancer cells.