A Benign Brain Tumour Can Still Be Life Threatening

TumourI don’t think it really matters what type of brain tumour you have, you still freak out at the thought that you have one. In my case, right from the first CT scan, the doctors thought that I had a benign brain tumour. So I felt indeed lucky that it was not cancerous.

It is hard to imagine that you can have a 3cm diameter tumour in your brain and have no symptoms whatsoever to warn you that something was wrong. In my case, suddenly as I finished lunch I had unbelievable pain on the left side of my head. It was all consuming and I could not speak or think. All I could do was hold my head and gasp and moan as I tried to remain conscious through the terrible pain.

The pain lasted for about 15 minutes and as it eased off a little my husband decided to call an ambulance. But first he asked me if I thought I had facial neuralgia which I had some years before and the pain was similar.  But I could not understand what he was saying.

It turned out that I had had a stroke. The paramedics and the doctor at my local country hospital thought the same thing. When they did the CT scan it showed that I had indeed had a stroke but they also found the brain tumour.

Now that was a double whammy! I was taken to a major hospital in Melbourne by ambulance and to my surprise I was not too stressed about everything. I now think that because of the stroke my mind was in a sort of fog and I could not fully comprehend just what was happening to me.

Initially I thought that the pain was caused by the stroke, but in fact it was caused by the tumour and that was the first and only symptom I had. Because the tumour had pressed the brain stem out of alignment, it was indeed serious. Once the brain stem is damaged it leads to death.

But the real life threatening problem now was that the surgeon had to get 7 centimetres inside the brain to reach the tumour. There is a lot of damage that can occur when a knife has to go so far into the brain!

My tumour was a benign brain tumour but I will have to undergo MRI scans and checkups for the rest of my life as these tumours can grow back. You can read more about just what happened to me and how I coped with it in my book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’. There is a short description here.

Tips and Hints

When you suffer severe pain (even bad headaches) you should seek medical help. It is probably best to go to the emergency room at a hospital as they have the medical equipment that can help with the diagnosis. But if you do decide to see your doctor, ask for a CT scan to be arranged, even if the doctor does not think it is necessary. There are so many people suffering from brain tumours these days that it is better to be safe than sorry. As with all of these serious problems, if found early there is a better chance of survival.

30 thoughts on “A Benign Brain Tumour Can Still Be Life Threatening

  1. Debbie Boulier

    Although brain tumors are rare they do occur unfortunately. The first thing I would think of would be a stroke, but only MRI’s and CaT scans can really see what’s going on. Even benign tumors are very serious as they can cause other life threatening problems. Any sudden onset of a severe headache and you must go to the ER right away.

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      I wish you were correct when you sat that brain tumours are rare – unfortunately more and more and more are occurring. I live in a small town and the month after my problem my neighbor (older than me) suffered exactly the same – a stroke and a brain tumour. The lady I buy my jam from also have a brain tumour at the same time. In hospital their were dozens of people with brain tumours. My surgeon told me that he had operated on over 2,000 patients with brain tumours – and that was only one doctor! Sure, there may be more breast cancers but the number of brain tumours is increasing rapidly. Why? I know their is no proof, but I can’t help think it may have something to do with mobile phones.

  2. Dan Reid

    Agreed – any head-related injury, discomfort, and concern must be treated with utmost consideration. It holds the most important piece of your physicality – your brain. There’s just so much at risk that taking chances and or self-diagnosing is not advised. Heck, if doctors can make wrong assumptions, so can we. Yet, if you had to trust someone, it’s them as its their expertise. Do yourself a favour and get answers to your concerns!

  3. Ana B.

    This is a really helpful post! I’m always looking out for tips on warning signs of serious conditions, so I’ll definitely seek medical treatment if I start to suffer from severe headaches or pain.

  4. Robbie

    Thanks for the tips, I have a continuous headache at all times, it gets worse at times but never leaves me. Your article made me realize that I need to go get it checked out. thanks

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      I do hope that you did have this checked out – sometimes the results are good and nothing terrible is happening – but you need to know this for sure. I do wish you well and hope it is not a symptom of something serious.

  5. Lisa Perkins

    You are such an inspiration to all of us who have suffered physically…. I really admire your strength and courage!!!

  6. Kris H

    What a great article. I always kind freak out when I have a headache. After reading this, next time that I have a severe one, I’m gonna make sure to insist to my doctor that I get a CT scan.

  7. Marie L.

    Yes! Better safe than sorry. Teach yourself and your close ones to recognize other signs of strokes as well.

  8. wendy mitchell

    I deal with fibromyalgia, and in the beginning they ran all the battery of tests to make sure it wasnt a brain tumor. This is very helpful information.

  9. mike teberio

    All the things I have read were really great I am going to be telling people how this will help them.

  10. Jack

    I have always been one for being well prepared and trying to stay ahead of the game. I think having things checked in advance or when there is no direct threat is a very good idea.

  11. MBW

    When it comes to your health, it’s never an over exaggeration to go to the ER or see a doctor if you are experiencing great pain. Never know what could be happening under the skin.

  12. Nicky Evans

    I can only admire how you have taken your experience and turned it into such a positive for you and for all of us who read your blog! This is a very encouraging and inspirational post, i cannot even begin to understand all that must have gone through your mind when you were told the diagnosis. My sister had a brain aneurysm when she was in her late twenties, so i have some personal experience with brain injuries and the complexity brain surgery involves. Your advice on sometimes insisting on a procedure, even against medical opinion, is very important.. we all too often just put our trust in medical professionals above our own instincts that there is something very, very wrong and then end up with a far more serious condition.

  13. Jane

    Terrific article. Life is incredibly precious. Any medical condition should be investigated to prevent it from spreading or getting worse.

  14. rahul

    its always best to get it checked every time you find out that something is not right, so you can have a better chance of survival.

  15. Lyn Collins

    I have always heard people say that its just benign its okay, but its nice to educate people that it is still important to seek medical help and treatment regardless if its benign or malignant.

  16. Jenny McArdle

    This is so true. My mother in law had exactly the same thing and it was a brain aneurysm. Never ignore any health signs. God bless.

  17. Sam Wallace

    It is very important to go see a doctor when you even feel a little sick. You never know what it could turn into later on down the road.

  18. Max Torini

    This was extremely helpful. I am always cautious and curious of warnings signs affiliated with it. Thank you for the info!

  19. Gary R

    This article holds a treasure full of valuable information. I have always heard of people dealing with cancer of the brain and it sounds pretty scary. It is good to know that at the first sign of a recurring severe headache you need to seek medical assistance.

  20. Samantha R.

    That is so scary. People need to always be cautious even when it’s the little things because your body is trying to tell you something is wrong.

  21. Jaime

    I agree. Sometimes you really do have to be your own medical advocate. If going to the doctor’s, I definitely believe you have to insist on additional testing. Emergency room would probably be better for severe pain though.


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