Brain tumor symptoms typically vary from patient to patient, and from one type of brain cancer to another. Some symptoms, such as headaches and fatigue, are vague and may initially be attributed to less serious conditions. Others, such as loss of balance and fine motor skills, are more specific and may be more easily attributed to a brain tumor.
Some of the most common brain tumor symptoms include:
- Severe, recurring headaches (often manifesting as dull, persistent pressure)
- Seizures (with or without the loss of consciousness and/or bodily function)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Prolonged, unexplained fatigue
- Vision loss or "seeing double" (especially common for tumors that develop in the temporal lobe or occipital lobe)
- Difficulty speaking, hearing or remembering things (especially common for tumors that develop in the frontal or temporal lobes)
- Difficulty swallowing or controlling the facial muscles (especially common for tumors that develop in the brain stem)
- Balance changes (especially common for tumors that develop in the cerebellum)
- Changes in mood or personality, such as aggressiveness, confusion, disorientation and difficulty sleeping.
Some of these symptoms occur when a tumor places pressure on the brain or spinal cord; others develop as the result of an advanced tumor interfering with normal brain function. However, most of these warning signs will not develop until later in the cancer’s progression.
Although these symptoms can result from something other than a brain tumor, it’s still important to discuss them with an oncologist who is familiar with such malignancies and can confirm or rule out a potential tumor. Moffitt Cancer Center’s Neuro-Oncology Program can evaluate patients to help pinpoint the cause of the symptoms – even without a referral. If our oncologists suspect a malignancy, we can perform advanced diagnostic tests on site, giving our patients the answers they deserve as quickly as possible.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Arnold Etame, Neurosurgeon, Department of Neuro-Oncology
If you’re experiencing any of these brain tumor symptoms and would like to discuss your concerns with one of our experienced oncologists who specialize in brain cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.