The motor cortex of the brain initiates and controls muscle movement throughout the body. “The right motor cortex controls the left side of your body and the left motor cortex controls the right side of your body,” says Dr. Chen. “If there are tumors anywhere along this pathway, these signals are completely disrupted and the result is loss of function.” If you have a brain tumor, you may not experience pain in your limbs, but your left or right leg or arm may not respond the way you’re used to—or at all. Weak legs may also mean that you have a vitamin D deficiency. Don’t miss these 13 subtle signs of cancer that men are likely to ignore.
Patients experiencing this particular brain tumor symptom may not be aware of it at all, let alone associate it with a brain tumor. They may not even notice an alteration in their vision quality until they continually bump into things on one side of the body because of the vision loss or have multiple car accidents on the side of the loss. “This particular symptom of impaired peripheral vision is known as bitemporal hemianopsia,” says Christopher Carrubba, MD, co-director for medical education at Med School Tutors. “We often see this symptom with pituitary tumors that compress the optic chiasm, or part of the visual pathway.” Read about the other surprising diseases eye doctors can diagnose first.
It can be very difficult for even doctors to tell the difference between headaches (or full-on migraines) that are signs of a brain tumor and those resulting from other reasons. “The best indicator is a new daily headache that won’t seem to go away,” says Mike Chen, MD, PhD, associate professor in the division of neurosurgery, department of surgery, at City of Hope in California. “These headaches tend to get worse over time and are often present when you wake up in the morning, when intracranial pressure is high from lying in bed for . . . long periods of time.” This pain can vary greatly regardless of the size or growth rate of the tumor. “A small, fast-growing tumor can cause as severe a headache as a large, slow-growing tumor,” says Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, neuro-oncologist and chair of the department of translational neuro-oncology and neurotherapeutics at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. And there’s no specific type of headache that can predict whether or not a person has a brain tumor. The key is to be on the lookout for new, persistent headaches that do not respond to any treatments like over-the-counter medicines. Find out the 15 subtle signs of cancer that women are likely to ignore.
The good news is that brain cancer affects less than 1 percent of the world’s population; the bad news is that brain tumors are often accompanied by very few symptoms, and brain tumor symptoms disguise themselves as everyday ailments such as headaches and exhaustion. Read on for eight silent but serious brain tumor symptoms or signs of a brain tumor, and how you should know whether or not to see a doctor.