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Brain Tumor Symptoms

Everyone with a brain tumor experiences symptoms differently. However, brain tumor symptoms have one thing in common: increased intracranial pressure (ICP).

Most brain tumor symptoms are caused by ICP, which occurs when blocked ventricles trap cerebral spinal fluid in the brain. Increased ICP can cause the following:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting (usually in the morning)
  • Nausea
  • Personality changes
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Decreased cardiac and respiratory function

Brain tumor symptoms: location of tumor

Signs of a brain tumor depend on the size of and location of the tumor. The following are symptoms of brain tumor based on the location of the tumor:

Cerebrum (front of brain)

  • Increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • Seizures
  • Visual changes
  • Slurred speech
  • Paralysis or weakness on half of the body or face
  • Drowsiness and/or confusion
  • Personality changes

Brainstem (middle of brain)

  • Increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • Seizures
  • Endocrine problems (diabetes and/or hormone regulation)
  • Visual changes or double vision
  • Headaches
  • Paralysis of nerves/muscles of the face, or half of the body
  • Respiratory changes

Cerebellum (back of brain)

  • Increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • Vomiting (usually occurs in the morning without nausea)
  • Headache
  • Uncoordinated muscle movements
  • Problems walking (ataxia)

What symptoms mean

Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you or your child has a brain tumor. Many other medical conditions have similar symptoms. Specialists at Rush will help get to the root of the problem.

Get help at Rush

  • Talk to your primary care doctor or pediatrician at Rush if you or your child have any symptoms of a brain tumor.
  • If your primary care doctor believes you or your child needs specialized care, you will see a brain tumor specialist. Brain tumor specialists at Rush take a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating all types of brain tumors in adults and children.
  • The neurology and neurosurgery programs at Rush are consistently ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The brain tumor program at Rush offers personalized care for children and adults with brain tumors.