The outward signs and symptoms of brain tumors and nerve tumors vary depending on their location, size, and type.
Brain Tumor Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms of brain tumors include confusion, personality changes, balance problems, headaches, and nausea. Coordination problems and reduced strength and feeling in the limbs are also reported. People with brain tumors may experience speech, vision, and hearing difficulties.
Glioblastoma is a type of malignant brain tumor. These tumors form in the cells of the brain and spinal cord tasked with providing a structure for neurons to send nerve signals. Glioblastoma is typically an aggressive form of tumor and can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness as it grows and presses on the brain. Other symptoms may differ depending on the exact location and size of the tumor.
Benign brain tumors are not cancerous. They tend to grow more slowly than malignant brain tumors and do not typically spread.
Meningiomas are brain tumors that grow in the layers of protective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. They are often benign, but even benign brain tumors can be serious. Symptoms of meningioma include seizures, vision changes, headaches, and nausea. In some cases, they can cause behavioral changes and problems with cognition.
Nerve Tumor Signs and Symptoms
Nerve tumors are abnormal masses that grow on the nerves connecting the spinal cord to the rest of the body. These nerves are also known as peripheral nerves. They control muscle movements for activities like walking, swallowing, blinking, and grasping items. When tumors form on the inside or outside of these nerves, they can impact these functions. They can also cause pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling. Lumps or bumps may form that can be seen or felt under the skin.
Nerve sheath tumors grow on the protective, insulating covering of nerve fibers. A small percentage of these are malignant. Around 95% are benign.
Neurofibrosarcomas are a type of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor. Usually found in the limbs, they can spread along the nerves, sometimes reaching the lungs. This type of nerve sheath tumor is rare and accounts for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed yearly.
Schwannomas form in the protective cells that form the nerve sheath. They are typically benign. Vestibular schwannomas are the most common type of this peripheral nerve sheath tumor. This type of schwannoma affects the connection between the brain and the inner ear and can cause hearing loss and balance problems.
Other types of benign peripheral nerve sheath tumors include neurofibromas, perineuriomas, ganglion cysts, and lipomas.