Does brain tumors cause severe headaches
Under what circumstances is a brain tumor likely to produce severe headaches with little or no neurologic focality?
Tumors that arise in relatively “clinically silent” areas of the brain may reach very large sizes before producing signs and/or symptoms. Tumors arising in and/or around the frontal lobes, for example, may grow to large sizes without producing focal neurologic deficits. Usually, however, there is some change in personality or cognition. Additionally, these can produce Foster-Kennedy syndrome, where there is papilledema in the contralateral eye, optic atrophy in the ipsilateral eye, and anosmia. This most commonly occurs in tumors of the anterior cranial base, such as meningiomas, that cause compression of the optic and olfactory nerves. These tumors can be very sizeable before detection.
Intraventricular tumors such as central neurocytoma, and ependymoma, can obstruct the flow of CSF within the ventricle and cause hydrocephalus without focal deficit. Hydrocephalus is associated with progressive headache, nausea, emesis, and a decreased level of consciousness.