Approximately 180,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. A brain tumor is simply a mass of abnormal cells that grows in the brain. The temporal lobe processes sounds and spoken words as well as memory and emotion. Tumors occurring in the temporal lobe will often impair normal functioning in this region.
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One of the most common symptoms of a temporal lobe tumor is often memory loss. The Mayfield Clinic of Cincinnati explains that because the tumor occurs in the region where the brain processes memory, patients may notice changes in their ability to retain both short-term and long-term memory.
People with a temporal lobe brain tumor may experience speech problems, or dysphasia. Dysphasia is a complete or partial impairment in a person’s ability to communicate. Expressive dysphasia produces a noticeable impairment of a person’s ability to speak. Although the person understands what is said, he may not be able to communicate in return. In Wernicke’s dysphasia, a person can speak clearly but his words and phrases are nonsensical. This can occur when the brain cannot find the appropriate word and instead substitutes a similar one without a person realizing it. A person with Wernicke’s dysphasia may also suffer from a lack in comprehension, confusing them further. A person with a temporal lobe tumor may also suffer from slurred speech though they comprehend information normally.
Headaches are the most common initial symptom of a brain tumor in any region of the brain. The characteristics of a brain tumor-related headache allow many physicians to differentiate it between a tumor and a headache from another cause. Headaches that occur due to brain tumors often are worse in the morning, with gradual improvement during the day. Patients with a brain tumor may experience headaches that wake them up and often feel better after vomiting, according to the Brain Tumor Association. The headaches will often worsen upon exertion such as exercise, coughing or changing position.
Another symptom of brain tumors is seizures; this is especially common in older adults. The Brain Tumor Association explains that approximately one-third of patients with brain tumors have seizures. Brain tumors can often cause disruptions in the normal electrical flow of the brain. This can cause convulsions, loss of consciousness and unusual sensations. Patients may also experience focal seizures in which they have muscle twitches, jerking of the arms and legs, abnormal tastes or smells and problems with speech.