Go Gray in May for Brain Tumor Awareness Month
Brain Tumor Awareness Month Honors a Very Loved Member of our Family
Today’s topic is a very important one, especially to us, here at Personalized Cause®. So, today’s post is dedicated to a beloved member of our family, gone but not forgotten. I truly hope that nobody reading this post ever needs to use the following information. But if you do, I hope from the bottom of my heart that this post leads to early detection and diagnosis. And that the prognosis has a positive outcome.
Today’s awareness blog topic is in honor of Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Brain tumors need a lot more than just one month of awareness raising. A friend of a friend just lost her perfectly healthy husband in his early 40’s. In only a matter of months he went from the picture of health to hospice. That’s why awareness for brain tumors is so crucial.
Tumor simply means a mass of abnormal cell growth. Tumors are not always cancerous or dangerous. There are lots of tumors that are benign, or harmless, and sometimes they don’t even need to be removed. With the brain, however, even a benign tumor in the wrong place can cause problems. But today, we’re focusing on malignant, in other words cancerous, brain tumors. Malignant brain tumors often grow much quicker than benign tumors. This makes them a particularly progressive and aggressive cancer. Although brain tumors rarely metastasize, meaning that they spread to other organs, they do invade surrounding brain tissue very fast. They may spread to the central nervous system.
Brain Tumor Detection
One of the trickiest things about detecting a brain tumor early is recognizing the symptoms. Symptoms vary greatly depending on where the tumor is located and what type of tumor it is. The general symptoms of a brain tumor are:
• Persistent, recurring headaches that do not respond to normal headache treatments, such as over the counter pain or migraine medicines. It is very important to note that most headaches are not a tumor. A headache is usually not cause for concern. If you are experiencing frequent headaches in combination with other general symptoms, then it’s a good idea to be seen by your medical provider ASAP. Even then, there are many other health issues that cause the symptoms.
• Dizziness and fainting, especially in people who do not normally experience dizziness or fainting. (I know that it seems strange to consider dizziness or fainting a normal thing for anyone to experience regularly. I say that because there are a lot of people out there with other medical issues who do experience dizziness or fainting somewhat regularly. For example, I have something called POTS, which means I deal with those symptoms pretty frequently. If I were to experience dizziness or fainting accompanied by a headache, it wouldn’t be particularly worrisome. It’s all about what is unusual to the person. Everyone’s normal is different. Recognizing the symptoms that are outside a person’s normal is key to detection.)
• Vomiting, especially when unexplained and it occurs intermittently over a duration longer than that of a typical cold or flu.
• Motor function impairment is a more serious indication that something is wrong. Sudden motor impairment such as difficulty speaking, walking, or balancing should be evaluated by a doctor.
• Sensory perception changes are another symptom, although many senses naturally get worse as we age. Again, the key here is sudden or unusual changes. This may include a sudden change in vision or need for glasses, a sudden change in hearing, or changes in your ability to taste, smell, or feel (through touch).
• Unexplained paralysis in part of the body, or unexplained weakness in part of the body.
• Seizures. Always see a doctor if you have experienced a seizure and do not have an already diagnosed medical issue that causes seizures.
• Changes in mood, personality, or thought process. This can manifest in sudden impulsivity, or recklessness, depression, uncontrollable laughter, memory problems, concentration problems, etc.
• Abnormal breathing or pulse. Because the brain regulates breathing and pulse, they can be affected, as all autonomic nervous system functions can be, potentially.
What should you do if you notice these changes in yourself or others? Well, you should definitely see a doctor! Many of these symptoms can be due to other medical issues, but that’s not an excuse to not be evaluated. The thing about a lot of these symptoms is that they indicate that something is wrong in the CNS, ANS, or brain. Many of these symptoms can occur from autoimmune diseases, as well. No matter what the cause, these symptoms can be warning signs that require treatment in order to prevent further damage or illness.
If you’re like a lot of other people, the fear of diagnostic testing can be a total deterrent from making that doctors appointment. So, I want to do is go over what many of the diagnostic tools are so that it takes the fear of the unknown out of the picture. Knowing what to expect can seriously help reduce anxiety regarding doctor visits.
If the doctor suspects there may be a brain tumor, or maybe just to be safe, they will order a CT scan or an MRI. These scans are pretty easy to do. The biggest complaint with them is that they are loud and it may be a tad claustrophobic for some.
Next step in diagnostics is an MRA, or possibly an angiogram. These work by giving the patient some dye so that can use X-rays. This is done to image the brain and see blood flow or abnormal blood vessels. This can tell doctors a lot about a brain tumor. MRA’s are a lot like MRI’s but they are more specifically designed for blood vessel imaging.
The last diagnostic test, which isn’t always ordered, is a biopsy. This is on the scarier side, as far as tests go, just because it involves actually going into the brain to take out a sample of the tumor to determine if it is malignant or benign. As far as your experience with the test, either you will be sedated or numbed, and shouldn’t feel anything.
Raise Awareness During Brain Tumor Awareness Month
There you have it. This is a very basic overview of possible symptoms of a brain tumor, what to do if you have those symptoms, and what testing may occur. I hope that all this information is never needed. If you do end up needing it, I hope this post helps you in some way. Remember, early detection is key.
Personalized Cause Awareness Blog
If you are new to our awareness blog, let me tell you a little about who we are and why we’ve started this blog. Personalized Cause® is an awareness accessory company that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a product unique to our company, which allow you to personalize the awareness ribbon color of your choice with any name, date, phrase or message. Custom awareness ribbon pins are a beautiful way to show support, advocate for yourself and others, and raise awareness for whatever cause is close to your heart. We also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons, and silicone wristbands.
Personalized Cause® started this blog in an effort to raise awareness for as many illnesses as possible. We hope that our readers learn something that helps them to prevent illness in their lives. Or, we hope it helps our readers to recognize signs or symptoms early. Prevention and early diagnosis are key. We also hope to correct a lot of misinformation and misconceptions out there associated with illnesses or causes in an effort to end stigma. We hope to contribute to a more understanding and accepting culture.
Brain tumors are represented by a gray awareness ribbon. To order a gray custom awareness ribbon, visit this page.
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