How commonly do patients with brain tumors have the classic history of a brain tumor headache?
Only about 17% of patients with brain tumors present with the “classic” headache syndrome. Instead, brain tumor headaches are mostly diffuse, and nondescriptive or tension-type headaches. Migrainous headaches are found in a small number of patients. However, not all tension-like headaches are associated with a brain tumor. In patients with new headaches without a prior cancer diagnosis, the risk of a brain tumor is low (0.15%). If the headache fits the criteria for a primary headache disorder, that risk is even lower (0.045%).