Brain tumors can manifest in many ways, one of the common symptoms of brain tumor is headache which is seen in around half of the cases. That having been said, tumors are a rare cause of headache in any patient.
The headache associated with brain tumor may be more in the morning and other symptoms can be nausea and/ or vomiting. The headache increases on coughing, sneezing or bending forward. It may be relieved on vomiting. It may be associated with seizures or a neurological deficit (weakness, loss of sensation, double vision etc). It may be associated with changes in behaviour or drowsiness.
A recent onset of headache which persists for a long time, a change in the character of the headache (if patient already has episodes of headache) or a headache associated with the symptoms mentioned in the paragraph above may point towards the presence of a brain tumor and needs to be evaluated further by a doctor to confirm or rule out the presence of a tumor.
A sudden onset of severe headache (described as “the worst headache of my life”) may be the symptom of a ruptured aneurysm which is a life threatening disease, which needs to be treated immediately.
Any patient with headache with the above mentioned symptoms should get consulted by a Doctor (your usual doctor if you have one- he will know you better and will pick up subtle behaviour changes) who will evaluate you and advice scans if it is appropriate. Once a tumor in the brain is diagnosed, the patient should visit a neurosurgeon to plan the further treatment. As in all other diseases, the sooner a disease is picked up the better are the chances of treating it. Almost all tumors will require surgery and unnecessarily delaying treatment may adversely affect the outcome of the treatment.