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What are brain cancer symptoms and signs?

Although there are few early warning signs, the most common signs and symptoms of brain cancer may include one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty walking and/or dizziness/vertigo
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness (for example, arm and leg weakness)
  • Headaches (persistent and/or severe)

Other common symptoms that can occur include

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • blurry vision,
  • a change in a person's alertness,
  • sleepiness,
  • mental capacity reduction and/or confusion,
  • memory problems,
  • changes in speech, such as difficulty speaking, impaired voice, or inability to speak,
  • personality changes,
  • hallucinations,
  • weakness on one side of the body,
  • coordination problems,
  • fatigue, and
  • pins and needles sensations and/or reduced sensation of touch.

These symptoms can also occur in people who do not have brain cancer, and none of these symptoms alone or in combination can predict that a person has brain cancer. Cancer can occur in any part of the brain (for example, occipital, frontal, parietal, or temporal lobes, brainstem, or meningeal membranes). A few brain cancers may produce few or no symptoms (for example, some meningeal and pituitary gland tumors).

Return to Brain Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: Grimey, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 25

An MRI found a 20 mm metastatic melanoma in my right temporal lobe close to the surface. Surgical removal was straight forward with no neurological deficit. The only symptoms I had was a feeling of pressure in the top of my head when I fell skiing and maybe when bending. I can't really remember. I thought it was a carryover from an unrelated brain (subarachnoid) hemorrhage (8 months earlier) but unfortunately not. My probable primary was a 3.7 mm deep melanoma on my back 19 years ago. I am now approaching my 8th treatment of pembrolizumab 2g/kg 3 weekly. I had no stereotactic radio surgery of the tumor bed. I have PET and MRI 3 monthly. First were clear. I have dull point pains developing in the right side and top of my head. Scans are due now so here's hoping its stress. Similar but not so bad pains were experienced prior to the last scans. They faded after the scans.

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Comment from: msarni0303, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 15

My daughter is 20 months and I just discovered she has RSV (respiratory syncytial virus infection). About a week ago I took her to see the doctor for her cough she'd had for almost 2 weeks at that time. He treated her with antibiotics because it had already been that long and her throat showed some redness. Around the 7th day of her 10 day dosing she started to feel worse and now she's throwing up. So I took her back to the doctor and they swabbed her nostril and sure enough she was positive for RSV. The biggest symptom my daughter shows is coughing nonstop while she is sleeping. Sometimes she even gags and ends up throwing up. Her boogers are bright green and she gets this rash on her cheeks and nose. No fever though. I use a humidifier during the day but in the night I use a vaporizer which seems to help her sleep better. I suction her mucus from her nose as well. Hopefully this goes away soon. It is so hard to see your little one not feeling well.

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Comment from: Mary, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 03

My best friend who is 53 was diagnosed with lung cancer 5 months ago. She went through chemotherapy and radiation. She was waiting to get his lung removed when they found that the cancer had spread to her brain. She has numbness on left side of face, nausea, vomiting and needs a walker due to her inability to keep her balance. It is tearing me up to see this once energetic lady reduced to sitting on the couch not being able to do anything. They have started radiation on her whole brain but she is extremely depressed at the fact she will be like this the rest of her life. As she says it her quality of life is bad, she can't do anything and is a prisoner in her own home because she doesn't want anyone to see her like she is now.

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