Brain Tumor
Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of brain tumors depend on their size and location in the brain. Symptoms often are caused by damage to vital tissue and pressure on the brain as the tumor grows within the limited space in the skull. They may be caused by swelling and a buildup of fluid around the tumor, a condition called edema. Symptoms also may be due to hydrocephalus, which occurs when the tumor blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and causes a build-up in the ventricles.

If a brain tumor grows very slowly, its symptoms may not appear for some time. The most frequent symptoms of brain tumors include:

  • Headaches that tend to be worse in the morning and ease during the day
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or loss of feeling in the arms or legs
  • Stumbling or lack of coordination in walking
  • Abnormal eye movements or changes in vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in personality or memory
  • Changes in speech
  • These symptoms may be caused by brain tumors or by other problems. Diagnostic tests can be performed to determine if the cause of your symptoms is a brain tumor and if it is a primary or secondary one.

    Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.