Symptoms depend on where the tumor is, how big it is, and how fast it's growing. They may appear quickly or slowly get worse over time. They may include:
Headache is very common with a brain tumor. The headache happens because of increased pressure in the skull. Pressure is caused by:
Growth of the tumor itself
Swelling from tissue around the tumor
Blockage of fluid around the brain and spine
Headaches tend to worsen over time. They're not relieved with usual methods. They are often most painful when waking up in the morning. They may also happen with vision problems such as double vision.
For some people, having a
is the first sign of a brain tumor. A seizure can occur suddenly and sometimes without warning. There are people who feel a change or signal (called an aura) before the seizure happens.
A seizure may be:
Generalized or major motor—May cause violent shaking, which may include losing consciousness. There may be loss of urine or bowel control, or biting of the tongue. They start in one part of the brain, but spread throughout the brain.
Focal—These may cause one part of the body to shake without control. It may start in one place and move to a generalized seizure. A focal seizure may also happen without any shaking. They may or may not involve a change in consciousness.
Not all seizures have shaking with the body. Some seizures are quick changes of consciousness. This may cause a person to fade out for a brief period.
Other General Symptoms
Pressure building in the skull may cause other symptoms such as:
Nausea or vomiting
Blurred, double, or loss of vision
Increased fatigue or sleepiness
Other Physical and Neurological Symptoms
Problems depend on where the tumor is. They will worsen as the tumor grows and presses into brain tissue. The most common are problems with:
Understanding what is being asked of you
Sensation and processing of sensory input
Personality or behavior
Movements or gestures
Coordination and walking
Controlling the bladder or bowel
Muscle strength or sensation in one or more parts of the body
General information about adult central nervous system tumors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/patient/adult-brain-treatment-pdq. Updated July 5, 2018. Accessed August 10, 2018.
Overview of intracranial tumors. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/intracranial-and-spinal-tumors/overview-of-intracranial-tumors. Updated June 2018. Accessed August 10, 2018.
Signs and symptoms of adult brain and spinal cord tumors. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/brain-spinal-cord-tumors-adults/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-and-symptoms.html. Updated November 6, 2017. Accessed August 10, 2018.
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