The symptoms below might point to a brain tumor. We stress the word “might” because other, more common, disorders can also cause many of them. All the same, we urge anyone who is experiencing any of these symptoms for no clear reason to seek medical care soon:

Many tumors of the central nervous system stay under control for years with treatment. Indeed, some patients enjoy a full life after diagnosis. We wish we could say that everyone experiences good outcomes, but for some people these tumors cause disability or death.
How well a person fares after being diagnosed with a brain or spinal tumor depends on a number of things, including:

  • Headaches that may come on or worsen at certain times, such as when waking up, changing position, or straining
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • One or more seizures, which might cause brief bouts of twitching, twisting, or unconsciousness
  • Trouble speaking or understanding language
  • Lessened ability to think, concentrate, or remember
  • Personality or mood changes
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Inability to move part of the body
  • Vision problems, including blurriness, seeing double, and blindness
  • Hearing trouble, from ringing or buzzing in the ear to hearing loss
  • Abnormal movements, new clumsiness
  • Dizziness or poor balance
  • Unexplained tiredness or lack of drive
  • Odd appearance of one or both eyes
  • Unintended weight loss or gain
  • Altered breathing or pulse
  • Excessive growth of all or part of the body, or in children, slowed overall growth
  • Swallowing trouble
  • Flow of breast milk not due to recent pregnancy or breast-feeding
  • Changes in monthly bleeding unrelated to menopause

Remember, most people who are experiencing symptoms on this list do not have a brain tumor. Even so, seeking treatment could save the lives of those who do; it can give peace of mind to those who do not. To learn about next steps, please see our diagnosis page.