Brain Cancer Symptoms: Headaches and Seizures

Medical Author: Benjamin C. Wedro, MD, FAAEM
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Most people seek medical care to make certain that nothing bad is happening in their body. They seek reassurance from their doctor that all is well. Unasked questions that linger fill patients and their families with dread until their concerns are addressed.

"Is my abdominal pain due to appendicitis?"

"Am I having a heart attack?"

And the 800 pound gorilla in the room: "Is there 'something really bad' causing my headache?"

For golf legend Seve Ballesteros, there is something bad happening in his body. Two weeks ago, he experienced a grand mal seizure for the first time. As part of the evaluation of a new onset seizure, a CT scan of his brain was done and revealed a large tumor. It is amazing that significant parts of the brain can be destroyed and yet the patient can have normal function. Looking back, though, friends had reported that Mr. Ballesteros had been complaining of headaches, and perhaps he had had a few episodes of unusual or erratic behavior. Often the clues are recognized after the fact and can help explain previous events.

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