Are you worried a headache that you’ve been getting in the same spot every day, fearing that it could be a brain tumor?
The bad news is that IS possible for a brain tumor to cause a headache every day in the same area of your head.
Suppose a person is having a headache – a new-onset pain – on a daily basis that’s occurring in the same spot. Can this be a sign of a brain tumor?
“Not necessarily,” says David Poulad, MD, a board certified neurosurgeon with IGEA Brain & Spine who practices in Union, NJ, whose special interests include the surgical treatment of brain tumors.
Dr. Poulad continues, “It all depends on what is the cause of the headache. If it is indeed due to a tumor, other symptoms will depend on where the tumor is located in the brain (i.e., is it near eloquent cortex to cause other symptoms besides headache).”
If cancer is the cause, you will more likely than not have these other symptoms.
So if it’s near the eloquent cortex you may also be suffering from minor paralysis or speech problems.
In summary, a headache in the same spot every day can have causes other than a brain tumor, but cancer actually can be a cause.
If a brain tumor is indeed the cause of a daily headache in the same area, what makes this happen?
Dr. Poulad says “regional mass effect” will “exert on the surrounding brain in that one location.”
What is “mass effect”?
When there is fluid buildup (the mass in this case) in the brain, it pushes against the organ, causing pressure – leading to the headache.
This fluid buildup, of course, would be in the same place every day (and increasing if not treated).
Sometimes the fluid buildup shifts the brain off center, and this is visible on an MRI or CT scan. When this happens it’s called a midline shift.
Bleeding in the brain can also cause a mass effect and midline shift.
But Dr. Poulad also explains that “brain tumors are not the primary cause of headaches [even daily in the same location], and it would be more likely that the patient has some form of migraine or headache syndrome.”
Do not panic if a doctor orders an MRI or CT scan of your head.