Tumors within any part of the brain may cause increased pressure within the skull. This can be caused by growth of the tumor, swelling in the brain, or blockage of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Increased pressure can lead to general symptoms such as:
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- Personality or behavior changes
- Drowsiness or even coma
About half of people with brain tumors will have seizures at some point. The type of seizure may depend on where the tumor is. Sometimes this is the first sign of a brain tumor, but fewer than 1 in 10 first time seizures are caused by brain tumors. Tumors in different parts of the central nervous system can cause different symptoms. But these symptoms can be caused by any disease in that particular location in the brain — they do not always mean it’s cancer.
- Tumors in the parts of the brain that control movement or sensation may cause weakness or numbness of part of the body.
- Tumors in or near the parts of the brain responsible for language may cause problems with speech or even understanding words.
- Tumors in the front part of the brain can sometimes affect thinking and personality.
- Tumors in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia typically cause abnormal movements and an abnormal positioning of the body.
- If the tumor is in the cerebellum, where coordination is controlled, a person might have trouble with walking or other everyday functions, even eating.
- Tumors in the back part of the brain, or around the pituitary gland, the optic nerve, or certain other cranial nerves can cause vision problems.
- Tumors in or near other cranial nerves might lead to loss of hearing, balance problems, weakness of some facial muscles, or trouble swallowing.
- Spinal cord tumors can cause numbness, weakness, or lack of coordination in the arms and/or legs, as well as bladder or bowel problems.
The brain also controls functions of many other organs, including the production of hormones. There are many other symptoms that can be caused by brain tumors that aren’t listed here.