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What is a Head Tumor?

An MRI of the head might be recommended if a tumor is suspected.
Head tumors often cause headaches.
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  • Written By: M. DePietro
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A head tumor may occur in any part of the head, but most commonly occur in the sinuses, ears or nasal cavity. Tumors may also occur inside the skull. These aare usually referred to as brain tumors.

Tumors are abnormal tissue growth. They occur when normal cells reproduce in an out of control manner. A mass or bump usually forms. The size of the tumor can vary greatly; some tumors may only be the size of a pea or smaller, while others can grow quite large.

There are various types of head tumors including gliomas, which are the most common type of malignant tumor. An acoustic neuroma is another type of head tumor, which is a tumor on the nerve in the head that leads to the inner ear. This type of tumor interferes with hearing and is usually benign.

Each type of head tumor is either classified as cancerous or benign. Benign head tumors do not usually cause life threatening problems and don‘t spread to other parts of the body. However, depending on where in the head the tumor is located, it can interfere with functions, such as hearing or breathing.

The more serious type of tumor is a cancerous head tumor. It may start in the head and travel to other organs of the body. Cancerous tumors are also more likely to grow back after they are removed. A biopsy is usually required to determine if a tumor is cancerous or benign.

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Symptoms of a head tumor will vary depending on where it is located. For example, tumors in the sinuses may cause dizziness and visual problems. Headache is a common symptom in many types of head tumors.

A diagnosis is usually made through a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Both of these tests provide an image of the head and brain and can detect a mass. A diagnosis may be determined by the location and size of the tumor.

Treatment will be needed for most types of tumors in the head, even if they are benign. Depending on the location of a benign tumor, it may press on parts of the brain and cause disturbances. Surgery to remove the tumor is usually the treatment for most types of benign head tumors.

Cancerous tumors also require treatment. Surgery may be an option depending on the location of the tumor. Certain tumors may be located in an area which are considered inoperable. Other than surgery, tumors may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The prognosis with a head tumor varies greatly. Most benign tumors are able to be removed and do not grow back. The prognosis with a cancerous tumor in the head will depend on the location and size of the tumor, as well as how early it was diagnosed and treated.

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Discuss this Article

naturesgurl3
Post 4

What exactly is a parotid tumor? I'm supposed to be researching that for a science class but seeing all the head tumor pictures is making me nauseous -- can somebody explain it to me sans graphics?

pharmchick78
Post 3

@pleats -- The problem with defining head tumor symptoms is that so many of them can be signs of other conditions, or signs of nothing at all.

However, things that can be possible symptoms of a tumor in the head are as follows.

First, like the article said, the most common symptoms is a headache. However, headaches that indicate a head cancer or a brain tumor are usually worse in the morning, and then get better as the day goes on. Sometimes people with a headache like this feel better after they throw up.

Another symptom of a head tumor is seizures. Much less common than a headache, a seizure is still not a 100% for sure sign of a head tumor -- only about 1/3 of people with brain tumors have seizures.

You can also look for personality changes. As with a stroke, a brain or head tumor can press on the part of the brain that influences actions and mood, and a sudden, inexplicable, prolonged mood or personality change can also be a sign of a brain tumor.

Those are the big three, but again, remember, all of those symptoms can be signs of something other than a head tumor, so don't go signing yourself up for head tumor surgery just because you have one or more of these symptoms.

The best thing to do is get your doctor to check you out, and possibly do some tests, such as an MRI, to see if there is a mass in your head.

Good health, everyone.

pleats
Post 2

What would be some of the signs of a head tumor? This article was really good on explaining what one is, but I'm still not exactly what I should be looking for as far as tumor in the head symptoms.

anon90231
Post 1

If you have really bad pains in your head what may be happening? I have serious head aches also and slight dizziness but very rarely. but i am only a child still in school.

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