Brain tumor symptoms depend on the area of the brain affected. Brain tumors can:
- Invade and destroy brain tissue
- Put pressure on nearby tissue
- Take up space and increase pressure within the skull (intracranial pressure)
- Cause fluids to accumulate in the brain
- Block normal circulation of cerebrospinal fluid through the spaces within the brain
- Cause bleeding
Brain tumor symptoms vary from person to person. They may include:
- Headaches, which are often the first symptom. A headache due to a brain tumor usually becomes more frequent as time passes. It may not get better with over the counter pain medicine and it may come with nausea or vomiting. It can get worse when you lie down, bend over or bear down, such as when you have a bowel movement.
- Seizures. Seizures can take many different forms, such as numbness, tingling, uncontrollable arm and leg movements, difficulty speaking, strange smells or sensations, staring and unresponsive episodes or convulsions.
- Changes in mental function, mood or personality. You may become withdrawn, moody or inefficient at work. You may feel drowsy, confused and unable to think. Depression and anxiety, especially if either develops suddenly, may be an early symptom of a brain tumor. You may become uninhibited or behave in ways you never have before.
- Changes in speech (trouble finding words, talking incoherently, inability to express or understand language)
- Changes in the ability to hear, smell or see, including double or blurred vision
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Change in the ability to feel heat, cold, pressure, a light touch or sharp objects
- Changes in pulse and breathing rates if brain tumor compresses the brain stem
These symptoms do not always mean you have a brain tumor. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may signal other health problems.