Patients with brain tumors may present with a variety of symptoms secondary to the effects of a growing mass. Here are some of the most common symptoms of patients with brain tumors:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • visual disturbances
  • recurrent headaches
  • behavioral changes
  • seizures (patients with epilepsy may also have an associated brain tumor, which is often slow growing)

How Pathologists Test for Brain Tumors

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Risk Factors

Risk factors vary depending on the type of brain tumor. The following factors may raise a person's risk of developing a brain tumor:

  • Radiation exposure - either diagnostic or therapeutic
  • Family history/genetics

Most brain tumors arise without any obvious risk factors or family history. However, known factors that predispose to brain tumors include history of irradiation to the head, and a variety of familial tumor predisposing syndromes caused by genetic alterations in key genes. These tumor predisposing syndromes may also affect a single individual without a family history secondary to a new mutation. Immunosuppression or deficiencies in the immune system may also predispose to the development of certain brain tumors, particularly tumors of the lymphoid tissues (lymphoma).