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Monday, 12 November 2012

Headaches usually aren't brain tumors

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, a headache isn't cancer," says Dr. Gene Barnett, director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center, who treats adults at the Cleveland Clinic. "It's a stress headache or a migraine or sinusitis or something else benign."

For every 4,000 children who have headaches, one will have a brain tumor, according to Dr. Santiago Medina, co-director of the Department of Radiology's Division of Neuroradiology at Miami Children's Hospital.

Of course, there's no simple way to tell whether your headache is a brain tumor, but doctors do have some red flags. Before reading them, there are some important points to remember. First, 50%-60% of all people with brain tumors don't have headaches at all, Barnett says. Second, your headaches could fall into all these red flag categories and you could not have cancer. Third, your headaches could fall into none of these categories and you could still have a brain tumor.

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