Benign brain tumour - Symptoms 

Symptoms of a benign brain tumour 

The symptoms of a low-grade or benign brain tumour depend on its size and where it is in the brain. Some slow-growing tumours may not cause symptoms at first.

When symptoms do occur, it is because the brain tumour is either putting pressure on the brain or preventing an area of the brain from functioning properly.

Increased pressure on the brain

If the tumour causes an increase in pressure inside the skull, it can lead to the following symptoms:

  • epilepsy or fits, which can be either major seizures or twitching in one area of the body
  • severe, persistent headache
  • irritability, drowsiness, apathy or forgetfulness
  • vomiting, which is sometimes sudden and for no apparent reason
  • dizziness 
  • partial loss of vision or hearing
  • hallucinations
  • personality changes, including abnormal and uncharacteristic behaviour

It is important to see a doctor if you develop a persistent and severe headache that does not have any obvious cause, especially if you also have unexpected vomiting.

Loss of brain function

Different areas of the brain control different functions, so any loss of brain function will depend on where the tumour is located. For example, a tumour affecting:

  • the frontal lobe – may cause changes in personality, weakness in one side of the body and loss of smell
  • the parietal lobe – may cause difficulty in speaking, understanding words, writing, reading, co-ordinating certain movements and there may also be numbness in one side of the body
  • the occipital lobe – may cause loss of vision on one side
  • the temporal lobe – may cause fits or blackouts, a sensation of strange smells and problems with speech and memory
  • the cerebellum – may cause a loss of co-ordination, difficulty walking and speaking, flickering of the eyes, vomiting and a stiff neck
  • the brain stem – may cause unsteadiness and difficulty walking, facial weakness, double vision and difficulty speaking and swallowing

Page last reviewed: 26/04/2013

Next review due: 26/04/2015


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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

katewootton said on 02 April 2014

To the previous comment (made by Seviyorumcok) I wouldn't usually comment something so personal and signed up in hope you would read this.

My mum has today just gone for a CT scan for a potential brain tumor. It could be serious (higher than grade 2) or it could be a grade one growth. Either way, it's not nothing and everything, especially to do with the brain needs to be looked into.

If someone else has noticed a change in you, then for their sake get it looked into. Especially for your children.

I highly recommend seeing your doctor and requesting a scan.


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Seviyorumcok said on 18 March 2013

2 of my daughter's are concerned about me. I am a woman aged 60 years. Over the last couple of months I have had some strange occurences. My daughter has said to me "Mum I am worried about you because you are becoming forgetful" I didn't know I was. She then texted me asking me what is wrong with you Mum, I texted her back asking her what she meant, she answered telling me she had already answered me twice already about her coursework papers yet I am asking a 3rd time. I cannot even remember texting my daughter the question!

Also I am getting a lot of visual disturbance in my right eye. I can only describe it as a dark veil partly covering my vision, it then feels like I am going through a dark tunnel and what I can only describe as a lot of cameras flashing. Also I keep getting a golden orb which is a bit like a shooting star because it has a tail to it. This orn glides past my eyes.

I also get neon illuminous zig zags dancing around my eyes which for a short while affects my vision, the longest it lasted was 35 minutes!

Also I am becoming clumsy and disorientated, my daughter's have told me my personality is changing and I keep getting irritable for things that normally I wouldn't bother about. Then there is a feeling of dizziness where I feel I am going to faint.

My daughter's want me to make an appointment with my GP but I feel I would be wasting his time.

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