Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

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

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 197 results

Diagnosis of Brain Tumour - Brain Foundation

Diagnosis of Brain Tumour The symptoms of brain cancer vary widely and depend on what part of the brain the tumour is pressing on. Sometimes, when a tumour develops slowly, the symptoms develop so gradually that they are scarcely noticed. Symptoms of brain tumours As a tumour grows inside the skull it presses on the... Read more

Read more on Brain Foundation website

If Your Child Has A Brain Tumour - Brain Foundation

If Your Child Has A Brain Tumour Although brain tumours occur considerably less often in children than in adults, they are still the second most common cancer in children (after leukaemia). While the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours in children are much the same as in adults, childrens brain tumours obviously pose a... Read more

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Brain tumours, anxiety and depression

Read more on beyondblue website

Understanding Brain Tumours

A guide for people with brain or spinal cord tumours, their families and friends

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Brain cancer - NT.GOV.AU

Early detection, symptoms and treatment for brain tumours.

Read more on NT Health website

Treatment - Brain Foundation

Treatment Malignant brain tumours (brain cancers) may be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or steroid therapy. These treatments may be used alone or in combination. The choice of treatment will depend on: The actual brain tumour: What type it is, whether it is a primary or secondary tumour, its size, and exactly where it is... Read more

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Medulloblastoma - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

A medulloblastoma is one of the most common brain tumours in children. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Parkinsons symptoms and diagnosis

Geoff shares his personal experience of unusual muscle and movement symptoms in the lead up to his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

What Is Headache - Headache Australia

One of the Most Common Symptoms Experienced by Humans. Headache is one of the commonest symptoms experienced by humans. In fact, it is quite unusual not to have at least an occasional headache. Why some people never experience headache is not known. It is probably linked with their inheritance of the chemical transmitters that pass... Read more

Read more on Headache Australia website

Check for signs and symptoms of skin cancer - Cancer Council Australia

Is it a mole or is it skin cancer? Learn how to check yourself for skin cancers and recognise signs of melanoma and other types of skin cancer.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo