A malignant brain tumor is different from a benign one in that it is cancerous, invasive and aggressive. Malignant tumors are faster growing and they invade surrounding tissues causing damage and deterioration. However unlike tumors at other locations, even benign tumors in the brain could cause problems and symptoms.
The kind of symptoms that a malignant brain tumor causes depends upon the size of the tumor and its location. Symptoms may be caused by benign as well as malignant tumors and they may differ from person to person.
The most typically seen symptoms of tumors located in the brain are-
- Since a malignant brain tumor is located inside the head, headaches are the most common symptom. The headache could be the sort that occurs principally in the morning or it could be the sort that resolves after the person vomits.
- Vomiting and nausea are frequently noted symptoms.
- Since the brain controls the senses of the body, a tumor there could cause problems with speech, vision (blurry vision), hearing and so on, depending upon the location of the tumor.
- The brain is also and charge of body balance, and so if the tumor impinges on certain areas of the brain, there could be trouble experienced in walking and matters of physical balance.
- General feeling of unusual sleepiness lethargy or weakness may be experienced and a person may experience significant reduction in usual energy and activity levels. It could also be that a person feels weakness only on one side of the body.
- Seizures such as the type noticed in epilepsy are another symptom of a malignant brain tumor.
- Since it is the brain that controls behavior, tumors can also result in behavioral, cognitive and personality changes. There could be impaired judgment, loss of memory, inability to recognize things or people, and disorientation. There could be irritation and mood swings as well.
- Paralysis of one side of the body could occur.
- There could be difficulty swallowing, tremors, dizziness, double vision and so on apart from the other symptoms of brain tumor.
- Among babies and young children there could be bulging outward to the fontanels (soft spot on the head) and increase of the diameter of the head.
- It is also possible that some brain tumors may produce few or no symptoms.
What are the survival rates with malignant brain tumor?
There are many different factors that determine the survival rates and prognosis of brain tumors – malignancy, location and size of the tumor are very important. If the tumor is of the type and in a location that can be removed by surgery, the prognosis will obviously be better.
Whether it is a returning cancer, or are there any chromosomal changes are other important determinants. The patient’s age, general health and fitness, the responsiveness of the tumor to treatment, and how fast growing is it, are also important factors that determine survival rates.
Based on all these factors and considering practical treatment options, the survival rates of a malignant brain tumor can range from a matter of weeks to several years.