Like all brain tumors, the symptoms of glioblastoma depend on the area of the brain where the tumor begins and spreads, as well as how quickly the tumor grows. Glioblastoma can:
- Invade and destroy brain tissue
- Put pressure on nearby tissue
- Take up space and increase pressure within the skull. This symptom is known as intracranial pressure.
- Cause fluids to accumulate in the brain tissue
- Block the 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: These are often the first symptoms of glioblastoma. Brain tumor headaches can differ from normal headaches. They typically become more frequent over time and may not respond to over-the-counter pain medicine. They may cause nausea or vomiting and 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. While most people associate seizures with uncontrollable arm and leg movements and a loss of consciousness, symptoms can be subtler. Other seizure symptoms include numbness, tingling, difficulty speaking, strange smells or sensations, staring and unresponsive episodes.
- Changes in mental function, mood or personality: Brain tumors can cause people to become withdrawn, moody or inefficient at work. They 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. Brain tumors may also cause behavior changes, including a loss of inhibitions.
- Changes in speech: People with brain tumors may have trouble finding words, speak incoherently, and be unable to express or understand language.
- Sensory changes: Changes in the ability to hear, smell or see, including double or blurred vision can be symptoms of a brain tumor. The sense of touch can also be impacted. People with brain tumors may lose some of their ability to feel heat, cold, pressure, sharp edges or light touches.
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Changes in pulse and breathing rates: This symptom usually occurs with a brain tumor compresses the brain stem, which controls basic bodily functions including breathing and the heart rate.
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.