World Brain Tumor Day is marked every year on June 8 to raise awareness about the need for early detection and timely treatment of the condition.

A brain tumor occurs when cells grow abnormally in the brain or somewhere near the brain tissue, including the nerves, the pituitary gland, the pineal gland and the membranes that cover the surface of the brain.

The tumor cells can be benign or malignant. Noncancerous brain tumors can grow and compress the brain tissues while cancerous tumors grow rapidly, invade and destroy the brain tissue. If the patients do not receive timely diagnosis and treatment, brain tumors can cause serious complications and can be fatal.

The theme for this year's World Brain Tumor Day is "protect yourself- keep away from stress." It is estimated that more than 24,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with brain tumors this year.

The symptoms of brain tumors are not the same for everyone. They vary depending on the size of the tumor, its location and the area it affects.

Some of the warning signs of a brain tumor can also be symptoms of various other health conditions. Having any of the symptoms does not necessarily confirm that you have a brain tumor. However, it is important to watch out for the signs for early screening and detection.

Common symptoms of brain tumor

  • Frequent headaches: Persistent headaches or pressure in the head that gets worse over time. Patients often experience headaches during the mornings and the pain worsens with activity. This is often mistaken for migraine headaches or tension headaches.
  • Blurry vision: Many patients have issues with vision, including seeing double, losing sight on the sides and experiencing flashes of light.
  • Nausea and vomiting: If a person shows frequent symptoms of nausea and vomiting not connected with any digestive disorders, it needs to be evaluated as they can be early warning signs of brain tumors.
  • Sensory issues: A patient may show issues with senses, including smell, hearing and speech even without losing consciousness.
  • Fatigue: People with brain tumors may feel fatigue and tiredness. The extreme sense of tiredness can be due to the body fighting with the disease and is also a common side effect of cancer treatment.
  • Losing balance: Clumsiness and losing balance can be early signs of a brain tumor.
  • Seizures: Seizures or convulsions are a common sign of brain tumors especially in low-grade, more benign tumors. During a seizure, patients exhibit uncontrolled jerking and sense a brief time gap or confusion.
  • Confusion and memory issues: Patients may experience confusion in everyday matters and may have difficulty remembering commands.
Woman with headache. Jose Navarro/flickr