A brain tumor actually can cause a nosebleed. “Tumors starting from the skull base can erode into the sinus cavity causing nosebleeds,” says John M. Abrahams, MD, with Brain and Spine Surgeons of New York, chief of neurosurgery at Northern Westchester Hospital, and founder of the Westchester Neuroscience Research Foundation which is studying the genomic profile of malignant brain tumors.
First, you should know that nosebleeds have a ton of non-serious causes including dry air, aggressive blowing and picking.
Even aiming a nasal spray straight up the nostril, rather than at a tilted angle, can irritate the tiny blood vessels in the membrane and trigger some bleeding.
If a nosebleed seems to come out of nowhere and/or is heavy when it happens, this still does not mean it might be a brain tumor.
It could be a nasal polyp, abrupt temperature changes, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, a cold or high blood pressure. All of these are more likely causes – much more likely – than a brain tumor.
What kind of brain tumor causes a nosebleed?
“Usually meningioma if it is located in that location,” says Dr. Abrahams.
“If the tumor is in the sinus, the patient can have pain in that area, frequently bloody nose or loss of smell.”
A meningioma is usually benign.
Only about three percent become malignant. Thus, meningiomas are typically benign brain tumors. However, they can cause very serious local destruction, and the symptoms are determined by the location of the mass.
Depending on the growth’s location, the symptom might be hearing loss or problems with limb movement.
If it’s close enough to the sinus area, this very slow growing brain tumor can easily lead to nosebleeds – and this symptom has been reported in the medical literature several times and is exceedingly rare to present this way due to this very uncommon location of the mass.
In fact, a paper in Child’s Nervous System (Kumar et al, 1993) describes a case of nosebleed from meningioma in an 11-year-old boy. However, the patient also presented with an abnormal displacement of his eyeball.
If the only symptom is a nosebleed, it is extremely unlikely to be the result of this rare brain tumor – just SO unlikely that you should put this out of your mind.
The incidence of this disease is about 97 per 100,000 people in the U.S., says a paper in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology (Wiemeis et al, 2010).
Stacked against all the other possible causes of nosebleeds, the rare meningioma (which usually grows in other parts of the brain and even the spinal cord) is at the bottom of the heap.
If you or your child have been experiencing new-onset nosebleeds, even from just one nostril, and have not been having any other symnptoms such as a protruding or displaced eyeball, vision problems, new lump near the nose, ear pain, change in voice, facial numbness or headaches – the nosebleeds’ cause is EXTREMELY unlikely to be a brain tumor or any cancer for that matter.