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.
Pressure building in the skull may cause other symptoms such as:
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