Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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What symptoms are typically associated with brain cancer?

Question: What symptoms are typically associated with brain cancer?  

Dr. St. Clair: The symptoms of brain cancer depend on the tumor’s size and location within the brain. Some brain tumors can cause symptoms by creating increased pressure within the skull. These tumors may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, or sleepiness. Other brain tumors may cause symptoms by disrupting specific functional areas of the brain. Patients with these brain tumors may experience pain, weakness or numbness in an arm or leg; difficulty speaking or understanding speech; or difficulty seeing or hearing.

Often patients with a brain tumor will present with a combination of several of the below symptoms. Patients should consult with a doctor if they notice symptoms that include:

Headaches – There are many reasons that people suffer headaches and, of course, the vast majority are not brain tumors. However, headaches that become noticeably more severe or persistent should prompt a doctor’s evaluation.

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  • Vision changes – A tumor near the optic nerve may cause blurred or double vision.

    Loss of motor skills – A tumor near an area that controls motor function can affect balance, coordination, movement and speech.

    Cognitive impairment – A brain tumor may cause memory problems, confusion, or difficulty processing information.

    Numbness – Some brain tumors cause lack of sensation on one side of the body.

    Seizures – New seizures or convulsions, especially without a known history of seizures, may indicate a developing tumor. *

    If you have a question about cancer prevention or treatment, the oncologists, surgeons and other health experts of Cancer Treatment Centers of America® are available to answer. Submit your questions »


    Eric St. Clair, M.D., is Director of Neurosurgery at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® in Philadelphia. After chief residency and a neurosurgical oncology fellowship at New York University Medical Center in New York City, he completed a second neurosurgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He also teaches medical students and trains future neurosurgeons as an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Temple University Medical Center in Philadelphia. Dr. St. Clair is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.



    * This content is provided and sponsored by Cancer Treatment Centers of America®. The information is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

    Eric St. Clair, M.D. Cancer Treatment Centers of America ®
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