Brain Tumor Signs and Symptoms: Analysis of Primary Health Care Records From the UKCCS

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OBJECTIVE: To compare the frequency of brain tumor signs and symptoms in children with and without brain tumors.

METHODS: This was a UK population-based retrospective analysis of primary care records. Participants were 195 children (1-14 years) newly diagnosed with brain tumors and 285 controls matched by age, gender, and region. Comparisons included total number of prediagnosis consultations, number with >= 1 symptom suggestive of a brain tumor, total number of symptoms, number of different symptoms, and number of visits with specific combinations of symptoms.

RESULTS: On average, cases consulted more often than controls between birth and diagnosis/pseudodiagnosis with brain tumor signs and symptoms. Their consultation rate with >= 1 suggestive symptom escalated in the 2 years before diagnosis. Symptom prevalence was higher among cases than controls, a relative difference of 3.29 times as many consultations with >= 1 suggestive symptom (95% confidence interval [Cl]: 2.82-3.83) and 7.01 as many with more than 1 (95% Cl: 5.38-9.13). In each 6-month period in the 4 years before diagnosis, cases had at least twice as many consultations with >= 1 suggestive symptom (20.81 times as many in the 6 months before diagnosis [95% Cl: 14.29-30.30]) and 2-3 times more records of suggestive symptoms (28.35 times more in the 6 months before diagnosis [95% Cl: 19.05-42.19]). Symptoms rarely or not observed among control children included head tilt, odd head movements, odd posture, back or neck stiffness, and unsteadiness without obvious cause.

CONCLUSION Key to identifying the 1 child among many who merits prompt investigation is recognition of unusual symptoms, or specific symptom patterns. Pediatrics 2010;125:112-119

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • brain tumors
  • signs and symptoms
  • primary health care
  • medical charts

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