Symptoms of Brain Tumors
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Symptoms depend on where the tumor is, how big it is, and how fast it is growing. Problems may start quickly or slowly get worse over time. Seizures may be due to injury to a specific part of the nervous system or an increase in pressure within the nervous system.
Problems may be:
Brain tumors often cause headaches that get worse over time. This is due to increased pressure in the skull caused by:
Headaches are often most painful when a person wakes up.
A seizure is often the first sign of a brain tumor. A seizure can happen suddenly and sometimes without warning. Some people may feel a strange feeling called an aura before one happens.
There are two types:
Not all seizures cause shaking. 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:
Other Physical and Neurological Symptoms
Problems depend on where the tumor is. They worsen as the tumor grows and presses into brain tissue. The most common are problems with:
Adult central nervous system tumors treatment (PDQ®)–health professional version. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/hp/adult-brain-treatment-pdq. Accessed July 13, 2021.
Astrocytoma and oligodentroglioma in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/astrocytoma-and-oligodendroglioma-in-adults. Accessed July 13, 2021.
Meningioma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/meningioma. Accessed July 13, 2021.
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. Accessed July 13, 2021.
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. Accessed July 13, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 7/12/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.