Brain tumour symptom could appear at mealtimes – when to see a doctor

Brain tumour: Cancer Research UK on 'different types' in 2017

The location of a tumour in the body will affect the type of symptoms someone experiences.

Due to the complexity of the brain and the fact it performs various important functions, any growth in the organ can trigger a wide range of side effects.

According to The Brain Tumour Charity there is one symptom of a tumour on the brain that could strike during mealtimes.

It can also indicate what part of the brain the tumour is located.

This symptom is a loss of taste and/or smell, something which has in the last few years been associated with COVID-19.

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The charity explains: “Although it’s rare, loss of taste and smell can be linked with brain tumours in certain parts of the brain.

“Loss of taste and smell is something that’s been spoken about a lot in the last couple of years, as it’s a key symptom of coronavirus (COVID-19) and one that can last for weeks or months in some cases.”

The charity shared the different parts of the brain that could be affected.

“A brain tumour in the frontal lobe could lead to loss of smell (as well as other symptoms, such as, difficulty with speaking, concentrating or learning new information),” it says.

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“A brain tumour in the temporal lobe could lead to sensations of strange smells (as well as other symptoms, such as, difficulty with hearing, speaking and memory loss).

“A brain tumour in the parietal lobe could lead to difficulty bringing together information from your senses, including smell and taste (as well as other symptoms, such as, difficulty recognising faces or objects and coordinating movements).”

Although not a brain tumour, the charity also warned that an olfactory neuroblastoma – a tumour in the nasal cavity – could affect smell.

This can also create nosebleeds, lead to watery eyes, and other symptoms.

What to do if you experience a loss of taste or smell

If you notice a change in these senses it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a brain tumour, as it can be linked to many other medical issues/

The Brain Tumour Charity says: “If you have lost your taste or smell, it’s important that you don’t panic.

“Brain tumours are rare, and other medical issues can lead to a loss of taste and smell.”

But if your loss of taste or smell persists or you experience it with other symptoms of a brain tumour you should speak to your GP.

“If the symptoms are sudden or severe, you should go to your emergency department or call 999,” the charity adds.

The NHS lists the most common symptoms of a brain tumour as:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
  • Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
  • Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Vision or speech problems.

These symptoms can get worse over time.

“See a GP if you have these types of symptoms, particularly if you have a headache that feels different from the type of headache you usually get, or if headaches are getting worse,” the NHS advises.

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