It is possible for brain cancer to be misdiagnosed. The varied symptoms, depending on where in the brain the cancer is growing, can mean the signs are missed. Brain tumour misdiagnosis is serious, as malignant tumours typically grow and spread fast. Surgery is often the best treatment option for brain tumours but if cancer has become too large or has spread, it can be impossible, resulting in the disease becoming incurable. As a result, it’s vital that doctors recognise the potential symptoms and order the necessary tests efficiently.
Some of the conditions that a misdiagnosed brain tumour can inaccurately be labelled as include:
- Brain tumour misdiagnosed as stroke
Tumours adding pressure to some areas of the brain can lead to symptoms that mimic the signs of a stroke, such as confusion, problems with balance, and severe headaches. It can lead to a misdiagnosed brain tumour initially, however, further testing should mean healthcare professionals realise a mistake has been made.
- Brain tumour misdiagnosed as a migraine
Severe and persistent headaches are often the first sign of brain cancer a patient notices. However, it is possible for this symptom to be attributed to migraines, especially as there is no specific test to diagnose migraines. This means that if your doctor doesn’t order tests to rule out brain cancer you may receive a delayed diagnosis.
- Brain tumour misdiagnosed as MS
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord. Some of the symptoms of MS are similar to those of brain tumours and each person is affected differently, making it hard to diagnose. Again, there is no single test to diagnose MS but a neurologist should recognise the signs and order the appropriate tests to rule our brain tumours if necessary.
- Brain tumour misdiagnosed as sinusitis
If the early symptoms of a brain tumour are mild and relatively new, it is possible for them to be inaccurately diagnosed as viral infection sinusitis. However, sinusitis usually begins to improve within 3 weeks and persistent symptoms should signal that further testing is needed.