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.

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.

Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Symptoms of brain cancer depend on several factors, including the tumor type, size, location and extent, as well as age, health history and more.

Some common signs of brain cancer include headache, weakness, numbness, nausea, vomiting or seizures. Some individuals may not feel right cognitively, or have visual, speech or coordination problems. The symptoms may be subtle or develop gradually.

Some Potential Brain Cancer Symptoms Include:


Having a headache could be related to many causes. A noticeable change in the frequency and intensity of headaches may indicate a brain tumor.

Loss of motor skill

A brain tumor can affect certain areas of the brain responsible for motor functions, like balance, coordination or movement. Weakness of facial muscles may result from a tumor within the cranial nerves.

Vision changes

A tumor on or near the optical nerve could cause blurred or double vision. Other types of brain tumors may cause abnormal eye movements or changes in vision, depending on the size and location of the tumor.

Nausea and/or Vomiting

Vomiting, especially in the morning and without nausea, can be a symptom of a brain tumor. Nausea, however, can also sometimes occur, it’s just not as common. Like headaches, vomiting is a very vague symptom that could be caused by a number of things. With non-specific symptoms, it is ideal to keep a symptom journal to help you and your physician discover the triggers and patterns of such symptoms.

Cognitive Problems

Slower processing speed of the brain can be a symptom of a brain tumor. If you find it takes you longer to complete tasks than it usually does, report it to your doctor. This isn’t related to fatigue or lack of motivation. These are tasks that require thinking like simple math, writing sentences, setting up a chess board, or following a recipe. People with brain tumors may find it takes great effort to complete the most basic task. Memory loss and difficulty concentrating can be typical with some brain tumors, as well.

Weakness or Numbness

Some brain tumors cause weakness on one side of the body or other paraneoplastic syndromes, like peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in the hands and feet).

Weakness or Numbness

Weakness or Numbness

Speech Changes

Slurring of the words or slow speech can occur. A person with a brain tumor may say things that make very little sense, despite efforts to communicate with the correct words. Sentences may have words in the incorrect order or even include words that have no relevance. This lack of effective communication can be a frustrating symptom for people with brain tumors.

Behavioral Changes

The brain controls mood, behavior and mental abilities. Patients suffering from terminal brain cancer exhibit behavior changes such as becoming withdrawn and moody. Behavioral changes may cause the patient to feel drowsy and confused, leaving them unable to think clearly. These changes can interfere with their ability to perform duties at work as well as their personal relationships. Many display bizarre behavior and fail to realize that their behavior appears out of the ordinary.