The symptoms of a benign or low-grade brain tumour depend on its size and where it is in the brain. Some slow-growing tumours may not cause any symptoms at first.

When symptoms do occur, it's because the brain tumour is putting pressure on the brain and/or preventing a specific area of the brain from functioning properly.

Signs of increased pressure on the brain

Common symptoms of increased pressure within the skull include:

  • severe, persistent Headaches which are typically worse in the morning or when bending over or coughing
  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • vision problems such asblurred vision, floaters andloss of vision that may come and go
  • seizures (fits) which may affect the whole body or just involve a twitch in one area

Symptoms caused by the position of the tumour

Different areas of the brain control different functions, so the symptoms caused by a brain tumour will depend on where the tumour is located. For example, a tumour affecting:

  • the frontal lobe may cause changes in personality, weakness in one side of the body and loss of smell
  • the temporal lobe may cause forgetfulness ,language problems ( aphasia ) and seizures
  • the parietal lobe may cause aphasia andnumbness or weakness in one side of the body
  • the occipital lobe may cause loss of vision on one side
  • the cerebellum may cause a loss of co-ordination, flickering of the eyes, vomiting and a stiff neck
  • the brain stem may cause unsteadiness and difficulty walking, facial weakness, double vision and difficulty speaking ( dysarthria ) and swallowing ( dysphagia )

When to see your GP

It's important to see a doctor if you develop persistent and worrying symptoms that may be caused by a brain tumour. While it's unlikely that you have a tumour, it's best to be sure by getting a proper diagnosis.

If your GP is unable to identify a more likely cause of your symptoms, they may refer you to a neurologist for further assessment and tests, such as a brain scan.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 20 Apr 2015