skip to main content

Brain Cancer Symptoms can be Overlooked or Even Ignored

By |2018-08-20T09:37:48-04:00July 19th, 2017|Categories: Cancer|Tags: , |

While other types of cancer have increased or decreased over the past 25 years, brain cancer cases have remained fairly constant. In all, there are more than 120 different types of brain tumors, but glioblastoma (the most malignant brain tumor) accounts for roughly a third of all brain cancer cases. Some gliomas become aggressive, as in the case of Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who passed away at age 46.

Not-so-obvious signs

One of the most common outward symptoms is also the most frequently overlooked. During consultations with some new patients, family members will often mention their unexplained personality changes during the past several months or even years, such as unexplained confusion, depression, aggression, socially inappropriate behavior, trouble focusing in the workplace or “they just aren’t themselves anymore.”

There are also additional physical symptoms of brain cancer which are more subtle:

  • Chronic headaches which may increase in frequency
  • Stroke-like symptoms including vision, speaking and walking difficulty
  • Nerve changes including tingling and numbness, the inability to feel temperature change, or touch differentiation (soft versus sharp).

The grey area: brain cancer risk factors

Brain cancer risks are far less defined in comparison to markers for other types of cancer. With that said, we have seen some patterns of increased risk linked to: radiation exposure; family history of brain tumors; certain genetic syndromes; environmental factors; and immune system disorders such as AIDS. There has been a debate about cell phone usage leading to increased risk but, to date, no significant studies have proven this assumption.

Fighting back after diagnosis

Historically, tumors of the brain were studied under a microscope, but newer genetic studies will provide more precise data about the genetic make-up of the tumor. Armed with this information, oncologists will be better equipped to combat tumors more successfully. Brain cancer treatment options typically include a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. The goal of surgery is usually to reduce the tumor burden, followed by radiation therapy and certain chemotherapeutics to prevent it from coming back.

Keep in mind, not every brain tumor is cancerous; benign tumors can be surgically removed with no further treatment necessary. Today, we’re continuing to see improved patient outcomes in our battle against brain cancer, particularly treating the more aggressive tumors. As with any potential medical condition, don’t wait for unusual health symptoms to subside. Call your doctor for an evaluation or call 911 if symptoms are sudden or severe.

Specialized brain and spine treatment closer to home

CentraState Medical Center’s Neuroscience Center of Central Jersey offers neurologic, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation for injuries or medical conditions related to the brain, spine and nervous system. Treatment services include neurosurgery, advanced radiation therapy for tumors in the brain and pain management. For more information, call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727) or visit

neurologist freehold njDr. Joseffer is a board-certified neurosurgeon who treats disorders and diseases of the brain and spine. He is on staff at CentraState Medical Center and maintains a private practice at Princeton Brain & Spine Care located at CentraState’s Star and Barry Tobias Ambulatory Campus. The doctor can be reached by calling (732) 333-8702 or visiting

Request More Information

Keep updated with the latest