Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brain Tumor Symptoms

The following symptoms for brain tumors are from the National Cancer Institute.

  • Morning headache or headache that goes away after vomiting.
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting.
  • Vision, hearing, and speech problems.
  • Loss of balance and trouble walking.
  • Unusual sleepiness or change in activity level.
  • Unusual changes in personality or behavior.
  • Seizures.
  • Increase in the head size (in infants).

Several months before Isabella was diagnosed, she would wake up with severe headaches, sometimes vomiting.  It happened frequently enough that Julianne would track when it happened so we could report it to the pediatrician.  The pediatrician informed us that migraine headaches were common in children, and after a while, the headaches went away.  We didn’t notice anything new for months until the day before Isabella was diagnosed when we saw the weakness in her right hand. 

Unfortunately, the symptoms for brain tumors are fairly common and can be caused by many other things.  Since brain tumors are so uncommon, they are rarely diagnosed right away and are seldom the first thing that a doctor will think of.  While we were at Camp Sunshine, we shared many stories with other families who were misdiagnosed for a while before the brain tumor was diagnosed.

The key to brain tumor survival is all in the timing.  If a tumor can be found early enough, there is a higher chance that it can be fully resected before it turns malignant and spreads.  I hope and pray that if you are a parent and you notice any of these symptoms in your child, that it turns out to be something simple.   But in any case, please don’t ignore any of these symptoms should you see them.

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