Hat Trick!

Don't keep this under your hat

This Friday is Wear A Hat Day

It's the UK’s biggest brain tumour research fundraising event. So throw your hat in the ring, get ready to have fun, wear your best hat and raise funds to find a cure for brain tumours at the same time. We'll raise our hats to you!

On a more serious note, more than 9,000 people are diagnosed with primary brain tumours in the UK each year, of which about half are cancerous. Many others are diagnosed with secondary brain tumours.

What is a brain tumour?

A brain tumour occurs as a result of an abnormal growth or spread of cells from within the brain or its supporting tissues that can damage the brain or threaten its function.

Some types of tumour can occur around the edge of the brain and press on certain parts of it, whilst others can be more diffuse, spreading out and growing in amongst healthy brain tissue.

There are four classifications of brain tumour: grades I and II are low-grade, grades III and IV are classed as high-grade. High-grade or malignant brain tumours are aggressive and can spread quickly in the brain and are usually a serious threat to life. Low-grade or benign brain tumours are slower-growing and not usually immediately life threatening, but can still have a potentially dangerous impact on a person’s wellbeing.

What causes a brain tumour?

The direct cause of a brain tumour is still unclear, so more investment in research is urgently needed. There are over 120 different types of brain tumour.

Some risk factors have been identified, but due to the complex and unique health history for each patient, scientists are still unable to answer this fundamental question. These risks can include age, previous cancers, radiation, family history and genetic conditions and HIV/AIDS. Find out more.

Symptoms of a brain tumour

The symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected. Common symptoms include:

  • Severe, persistent headaches
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting and drowsiness
  • Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
  • Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Vision or speech problems.

Sometimes you may not have any symptoms to begin with or they may only develop very slowly over time.

When to see your GP

See your GP if you have the above symptoms, particularly if you have a severe and persistent headache. You may not have a brain tumour but these types of symptoms should be checked out.
If your GP can't identify a more likely cause of your symptoms, they may refer you to a neurologist (a brain and nervous system specialist) for further assessment and tests, such as a brain scan.

What is the prognosis of a brain tumour?

The prognosis is mainly dependent on type of tumour, location in the brain, tumour size at time of diagnosis, growth and how much can be removed or successfully treated. Factors including the patient’s age and general health also have bearing, as well as some recognised genetic factors.

Find out more about Wear a Hat Day

Don't be all hat and no cattle

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