|*DISCLAIMER: This page is an unmoderated forum, and the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Patients are advised to consult their personal physicians before making any medical decisions. |
There is a good chance the vertigo has nothing to do with the cancer. A sudden symptom of vertigo can happen in normal people, and actually is amazingly common. Most of the time it is due to something called 'benign positional vertigo' - caused by small little 'bones' in the inner ear that get stuck and need to be shaken lose. And either goes away on its own or a maneuver that I will tell you about (see link below) can help it fade away faster.
But the most important thing when it first happens is to have someone check to make sure she hasn't had a stroke. The head CT scan was a good idea to make sure the fall didn't cause a bleed, as sometimes that can cause vertigo. But it isn't the best test for a stroke, but I am 'assuming' the ER doctors did some other tests to reassure themselves this was unlikely. Is vertigo her only new symptoms or does she have any new weakness or numbness on the face, double/blurry vision, swallowing problems or voice changes? If not, it is likely this is 'benign vertigo'.
Did the doctors in the emergency room try this maneuver?
Sometimes this makes you feel a little dizzier initially, but then if you repeat it a few times, the dizziness gets less and less. And it can make it go away completel. Try it! It is completely safe.
The meclizine can make you sleepy and often doesn't work very well.
The test that needs to be done if the vertigo doesn't go away soon is an MRI of the brain with and without contrast. This is the ONLY definitive test that can show that there hasn't been a tiny stroke (very rare and unlikely) or that there isn't a small amount of inflammation or cancer that is causing the symptoms. Again this would be very very very unlikely, but when you have cancer.... you should always have cancer as a possible contributor on your list of causes if the symptoms doesn't go away.
Your oncologist should know this, but often they don't know that a CT scan
with contrast of the brain is NOT THE RIGHT TEST. You need a brain MRI with
contrast. Only neurologists or neuro-oncologists tend to know this. A CT
scan actually doesn't image the part of the brain that causes vertigo well,
so that is why an MRI is needed.
Reply to this message | Return to Main Message List