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"Can physical impairments during a brain tumor evaluation mean the tumor is very large?"

ZocdocAnswersCan physical impairments during a brain tumor evaluation mean the tumor is very large?

Question

Hello. I am a 42 year old guy who will have a brain tumor evaluation soon performed. I have had difficulty walking and swallowing and am worried this means my tumor is very large. Are these two things unrelated, and how concerned should I be?

Answer

Brain tumors are difficult things to treat because of the obvious importance of the tissue that they involve. Many times, the symptoms that people experience before they even know they have a brain tumor help neurosurgeons and neurologist to know exactly where the tumor is located and how big it is. Your symptoms of difficulty with walking and also swallowing indicate that your tumor might be involving some of the primitive functions of the brain, and could involve some central portions of the brain or brain stem. A physical examination might offer some other details, and would help to fine tune that early thought. Additionally, radiographic imaging is invaluable in determining size and location, as well as other characteristics of any mass in the brain. In other words, the symptoms that you are showing and the physical exam findings might indicate how big a tumor is, but they are even more likely to be helpful in locating the lesion. Your doctor will be able to answer all of these questions and hopefully help you to understand what lies ahead as more information becomes available. Please speak with your neurologist or neurosurgeon with further questions or concerns as they arise.

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