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Brain tumour symptoms

Brain tumours have a range of symptoms, depending on where the tumour is, how big it is and what type of tumour it is. Some symptoms may also be caused by the treatments used to manage the tumour.

Many brain tumour symptoms are similar to those of other diseases and conditions.

Common symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • seizures
  • loss of sensory (touch) and motor (movement control) function
  • problems with balance
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • hearing loss
  • vision loss
  • impaired sense of smell or taste
  • drowsiness and fatigue
  • loss of consciousness
  • depression
  • changes to your personality and how you behave
  • changes to how you think
  • endocrine dysfunction (hormone/gland changes).

You may notice other signs, like memory problems or difficulty speaking or remembering words.

You may also notice weakness or paralysis in parts of your body.

Read more about brain tumours, including symptoms, in the Cancer Council’s guide 'Understanding brain tumours'.

Symptoms in children

The symptoms of brain tumours in children depend on the child’s age and what type of tumour they have.

Common symptoms include persistent headaches, persistent vomiting, behavioural changes, and abnormal eye movements.

If you are worried that your child is not behaving in the normal way, or has other symptoms that concern you, see your doctor straight away.

Seizures (also called ‘fits’) are also a common symptom in children with a brain tumour. If your child is having a seizure, you should call an ambulance on triple zero (000).

Read more about brain tumour symptoms in children.

Symptoms caused by treatment for brain tumours

Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and other treatments can also produce symptoms while they work to reduce the impact of the tumour.

For example, radiotherapy has side effects including nausea and headaches and chemotherapy has side effects that include vomiting and fatigue.

Read more about brain tumour treatment.

Last reviewed: June 2015

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