Almost everyone has experienced a headache at some point, but glioblastoma headaches are different from the norm. If you have a glioblastoma headache, you will likely start experiencing pain shortly after waking up. The pain is persistent and tends to get worse whenever you cough, change positions or exercise. You may also experience throbbing—although this depends on where the tumor is located—as well as vomiting. Although over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) generally provide relief for standard headaches, they typically won’t have any effect on glioblastoma headaches.
Other symptoms of glioblastoma
A headache isn’t the only sign of glioblastoma that you need to look out for. In addition to headaches, glioblastoma symptoms include:
- Difficulty seeing or speaking
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Gradual loss of fine motor skills
Glioblastoma symptoms vary from person to person, since this type of cancer can develop almost anywhere in the brain and symptoms are dependent on where the tumor is exerting pressure.
Turn to Moffitt Cancer Center for diagnosis and treatment
If you’ve been experiencing a headache and you’re concerned that it may be caused by glioblastoma, you can get the answers you need at Moffitt Cancer Center. We take pride in offering comprehensive, individualized treatment services, and our Neuro-Oncology Program’s specialty tumor board meets once a week to review each patient’s case and determine whether new glioblastoma treatments should be considered.
Don’t hesitate to seek treatment—glioblastoma tends to spread quickly, so it’s important to obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. Fortunately, while many cancers don’t show symptoms until late stages, glioblastoma tends to start causing discomfort quickly, so there’s a better chance of catching it at an early stage.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader, Department of Neuro-Oncology.