'I have a clear sense of purpose': Tessa Jowell on brain cancer
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Sight problems or losing part of your vision can be alarming, though they are often caused by something other than a brain tumour. The College of Optometrists recommends that everyone over the age of 16 should have an eye test every two years, and more frequently if they have an eye problem.
Moffitt Cancer Center says that eye problems typically stem from conditions unrelated to brain tumours.
Nonetheless, brain tumours can lead to vision problems such as blurred vision, double vision, abnormal eye movements, sensitivity to light and loss of vision.
It says: “Vision problems can develop when a tumour places pressure on a certain area of the brain.”
It adds: “Eye problems can also occur when a brain tumour exerts pressure on the optic nerve or when pressure within the skull causes the back of the eye to swell.”
The Brain Tumour charity says it is important to remember that brain tumours are relatively rare, which means it is likely that your symptoms are not due to a brain tumour.
“However, it is always important to get any symptoms checked out at an opticians,” it suggests.
It says that if your symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get your eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.
It adds: “Symptoms of a brain tumour can vary depending on the tumour’s location, and several areas of the brain play a part in an aspect of vision.”
Cancer Research UK says: “You might find that your eyesight is getting worse and glasses are not helping. Or your vision comes and goes. You might lose the ability to see out of the corner of your eyes, making you bump into cars or objects on your left or right side.”
The charity says brain tumours cause symptoms because they take up space inside the skull when they grow, and because of their position in the brain.
The charity says: “The symptoms can develop gradually over some months or even years if the tumour is slow growing. Or quickly over days or weeks if the tumour is fast growing.”
It says: “Seizures happen in up to eight out of every 10 people (up to 80 percent) with a brain tumour. You might have some jerking or twitching of your hands, arms or legs. Or your seizure might affect your whole body.”
A brain tumour can cause headaches, but it is unusual for this to be the only symptom. Macmillan says that headaches are usually dull and constant, and sometimes throbbing.
Macmillan says: “Symptoms depend on where the tumour is in the brain and how slowly or quickly it grows. They may develop suddenly, or slowly over months or even years.
“As a tumour grows, it can press on or grow into nearby areas of the brain. This can cause symptoms because it stops that part of the brain from working normally. Symptoms can also happen because the tumour is increasing the pressure inside the skull.
“These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than a brain tumour. But it is important to get them checked by your GP straight away.”
Eye cancer is a general term that includes different cancer types. The type of cancer you have depends on the type of cell it starts in.
The NHS says that eye cancer does not always cause obvious symptoms and may only be picked up during a routine eye test.
Nonetheless, there are several symptoms of eye cancer which can show up in your vision.
These can include shadows, flashes of light, or wiggly lines in your vision, blurred vision, a dark patch in your eye that’s getting bigger, or partial or total loss of vision.
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