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Headache or brain tumor: How can we tell the difference?

news report out [April 1] highlights an unfortunate situation of a young woman in the United Kingdom who claims repeated doctor visits for “crippling headaches” were erroneously dismissed as “migraines” when it turns out they were actually caused by a brain tumor. The published account of her experience is quite distressing, but it poses an opportunity to distill further what is worrisome and what is less so when it comes to such symptoms. Headaches come in many varieties that range from benign to this example which underscores unsettling red flags.

When a brain tumor has grown considerably, it exerts a mass effect on the surrounding tissues by compressing or displacing them. The consequence manifests in greater and greater symptom intensity.

Related article:  Ouch! Here's how your brain deals with pain and the emotion that follows

The good news is many headaches are quite manageable with the correct treatment for the right diagnosis, so formal evaluation by a physician is the safest path. Keeping a headache journal is a great way to advocate for yourself and help your doctor put the pieces of the puzzle together for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Continued communication with your treating physician regarding any changes or worsening of symptoms is ideal.

Read full, original post: Not All Headaches Are Brain Tumors (But Some Are)

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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