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Signs and Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Signs and symptoms of brain cancer can be either general or specific and depend on:

  • Where the tumor forms in the brain or spinal cord
  • The size of the tumor
  • What the affected part of the brain controls

General symptoms of brain cancer are caused when the tumor is putting pressure on the brain or spinal cord. Specific symptoms are caused when the tumor is inhibiting the function of a specific part of the brain.

General symptoms of brain cancer may include:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Extreme drowsiness and fatigue
  • Headaches that are severe or worsen with activity or during early morning hours
  • Seizures
  • Significant changes to memory or personality
  • Sudden inability to walk or perform daily activities
  • Nausea or vomiting

Certain symptoms, such as drowsiness, nausea, or fatigue could be related to conditions other than brain cancer. However, if you notice them in combination together or with any of the other symptoms listed, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician.

Specific symptoms of brain cancer may include:

  • Aching or pressure in the head area
  • Altered perception of touch or pressure; such as confusion with right and left sides of the body
  • Changes in vision, including partial vision loss or double vision
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Extreme changes in judgment, motivation, or sluggishness
  • Hard time swallowing, along with weakness or numbness in the face
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Sudden changes in speech, hearing, memory, or emotional state
  • New growths in hands and/or feet
  • Unexplained loss of balance
  • Unexpected lactation (secretion of breast milk) or changes in menstrual periods, in women
Compass Oncology - The US Oncology Network