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Brain Cancer Symptoms

Brain Cancer Symptoms

This article gives a comprehensive list of all symptoms of brain cancer. These symptoms differ as per the location of the cancerous tumors in the brain.
Abhay Burande
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Brain cancer is also called Glioma or Meningioma. If cancer starts in the brain itself, it is called primary brain cancer. If it starts elsewhere in the body and then moves to the brain, it is called metastatic brain cancer. Primary brain cancer usually is confined to the central nervous system. Death takes place due to uncontrolled tumor growth in the limited space of the skull. Metastatic brain cancer is an advanced disease, and is related to poor prognosis.
Primary brain tumors may be cancerous or noncancerous. All the cancerous ones are malignant, and threaten life due to the aggressive and invasive nature. In the United States, 15-20 out of 100,000 are brain cancer cases. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in patients younger than 35. In case of children, primary brain cancer occurs in 3 out of 100,000 annually. Secondary brain cancer occurs in 20-30% patients with metastatic diseases. This incidence increases with age. Every year, about 100,000 cases of secondary brain cancer are diagnosed.
Symptoms
In general, there are about 24 distinct symptoms of brain cancer.
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Behavioral problems
  • Brain swelling
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing problems
  • Motor problems
  • Memory loss
  • Memory problems
  • Cognitive problems
  • Personality changes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Stumbling
  • One-sided body weakness
  • Numbness of arms and legs
  • Weakness of arms and legs
  • Hallucinations
  • Speech problems
  • Balance problems
  • Gait problems
Metastatic brain cancer invades the brain tissue indiscriminately, leading to the following symptoms:
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Motor dysfunction
  • Impaired mental function
  • Headache
  • Bleeding
Symptoms of Possibly Cancerous Brain Tumor
Some brain tumors are cancerous. Any brain tumor can hinder the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), causing its accumulation (hydrocephalus), and increased intracranial pressure (IICP). The common symptoms are:
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Nausea
Symptoms as per Location Of Tumor
Tumors damage vital neurological pathways, and press the brain tissue. The symptoms vary, depending on the location and size of the tumor.

A tumor in the brainstem is indicated by:
  • Drowsiness
  • Behavioral and emotional changes (irritability)
  • Hearing loss
  • Difficulty in speaking and swallowing
  • Headache, especially in the morning
  • Muscle weakness on one side of the face
  • Uncoordinated gait
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis)
  • Vision loss, drooping eyelid (ptosis), crossed eyes (strabismus)
Meningioma or a tumor of the meninges gives rise to the following symptoms:
  • Vision loss
  • Seizures
  • Prolonged drowsiness (somnolence)
  • Mental and emotional change (apathy, disinhibition)
  • Incontinence
  • Impaired speech (dysphasia)
  • Hearing loss
  • Headache
If there's a tumor in the frontal lobe, the symptoms are:
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Paralysis on one side of the body (hemiplegia)
  • Behavioral and emotional changes
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired judgment
  • Vision loss and inflammation of the optic nerve (papilledema)
  • Reduced mental capacity (cognitive function)
If a tumor is present in the parietal lobe, the patient is prone to show the following signs:
  • Lack of recognition
  • Impaired speech
  • Seizures
  • Spatial disorders
  • Inability to write
If the tumor is located in the right and left hemispheres of the frontal lobe, it causes:
  • Behavioral changes
  • Cognitive changes
  • Uncoordinated gait
If a tumor is present in the occipital lobe, there may be vision loss in one or both eyes, and seizures may also occur. However if it affects the temporal lobe, there are no symptoms, but there may be impaired speech and seizures. If it is growing in the pituitary gland (pituitary adenoma), the secretion of hormones increases, there is discontinuation of menstruation (amenorrhea), and excessive secretion of milk in women (galactorrhea). As for men, they may be afflicted by impotency.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is solely for informative purpose and not intended to replace the advice of medical experts.