Can I Tell if I Have a Brain Tumor?

Can I Tell if I Have a Brain Tumor?

If your doctor tells you that you have a brain tumor, you might feel it’s coming out of left field. Then you might wonder if you should have noticed the warning signs earlier. 

Not all tumors are cancerous (malignant), and many can be treated effectively. But there are early warning signs of a tumor. If you learn to recognize them, you can seek medical attention more quickly.

Our expert team of neurosurgeons at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center knows that the earlier your brain tumor is diagnosed, the more effective the treatments will be and the greater the chance you’ll recover. 

That’s why they’ve put together this guide about the symptoms of a brain tumor. Here’s what you need to know.

Defining tumors

The National Cancer Institute, describes a tumor as “an abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should.”

In a healthy body, cells grow, divide, and die, replaced by new ones that form in response to the need for fresh cells in an organ or system. Cancer, though, pumps out new cells all the time, even when they’re not needed. Too many in one location collect into a mass, forming a tumor.

There are three main types of tumors:


Benign tumors are noncancerous, because they’re usually unable to grow or grow only very slowly. Those that do grow large aren’t able to spread (metastasize) into nearby tissues or other regions of the body. And once you remove the mass, it usually doesn’t return.


Premalignant tumors also aren’t cancerous, but the cells, if triggered, have the potential to become so. Your doctor may want to monitor the mass to see what happens, or he may remove it just to be safe.


Malignant tumors are definitely cancerous, and their cells are able to grow and invade surrounding tissues, crowding out normal cells. They can also spread through your bloodstream and the lymphatic system to other areas of your body. 

You’ll have to undergo treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation, surgery) to remove, or at least shrink, the mass.

How you can tell that you might have a brain tumor

Brain tumors produce both physical and mental symptoms, which vary depending on the tumor’s type, location, and stage of development, but don’t vary depending on whether the tumor is benign or malignant.

A primary tumor is one that forms from the cells in the brain. A secondary tumor, also known as a metastatic tumor, is one that originated elsewhere in the body and moves to the brain.

About a third of primary brain tumors are meningiomas. They grow from the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord and produce pressure on the brain area where they develop. They’re most common in women over 60, and they’re usually slow-growing and benign.

Meningioma symptoms include:

Glioblastomas are another type of primary brain tumor, but these are malignant, growing quickly and requiring more intensive treatment than meningiomas.

Glioblastomas create pressure on the brain, with symptoms that include:

Metastatic brain tumors display the same symptoms that primary tumors do, including:

The tumors may also cause symptoms in the area in which they originated.

If you notice any of the characteristic signs of a brain tumor, come into Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center for an evaluation and treatment. We have locations in Sandy Springs, College Park, and Bethlehem, Georgia. 

Give us a call at any of our locations, or book your consultation online with us today. The sooner you’re diagnosed, the more effective treatment will be.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can My Spinal Fractures Heal on Their Own with Rest?

If you have a spinal fracture, treatment depends on the type and severity of the break, as well as whether other structures are involved. Can fractures heal on their own with just rest? Keep reading to learn the answer.

5 Risk Factors for a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc may produce no symptoms or pain and weakness so severe they’re disabling. Knowing your risk factors may help you prevent a disc from herniating in the first place.

Radiculopathy Types and What to Expect

Radiculopathy is pain that travels down nerve paths into the extremities. Keep reading to learn about the different types, what you can expect, and how you can find relief.

Spinal Stenosis: 3 Effective Treatments

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause radiating pain by compressing spinal nerve roots. Keep reading to learn about three effective treatments to relieve your distress.

Can Aging Cause Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common condition where the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or inflamed, causing pain, weakness, and numbness along its path. Can it be caused by aging? Read on to find out.

Warning Signs of a Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve is painful and irritating, and it can affect your daily activities. We outline the warning signs of a pinched nerve and share what you can do about it.