Early Symptoms of Brain Cancer


Primary brain tumors--those that begin in the brain and are not the result of cancer spread from other body parts--cause death when the tumors grow too large for the confined space of the skull. They can be cancerous or benign, but the complications suffered as a result of even benign tumors can be dangerous and life-threatening.


  • Headaches as a symptom of a brain tumor are generally worst in the morning, sometimes even waking the sufferer from sleep. Movement, coughing or even bending may make the headaches worse, and vomiting may make the headache subside temporarily.


  • Seizures, as a new symptom and not part of existing epilepsy, can be a sign of a brain tumor.

Mass Effect

  • Mass effects are caused by intracranial pressure. This occurs when the brain swells because of accumulating extra fluid. Doctors will often check for a swollen optic nerve to determine if there is intracranial pressure.

Neural Changes

  • These can include changes in personality or memory. Suddenly forgetting things, becoming more aggressive or timid, or becoming anxious or depressed can be early symptoms of brain cancer.


  • Nausea and vomiting, as a result of the pressure from the tumor, also occurs in many cases.

Focal Symptoms

  • Focal symptoms help the doctor to focus on where the tumor has grown. Problems with hearing (loss, buzzing, ringing), coordination issues, paralysis, muscle weakness and vision disturbances are important to note.


  • While these are standard early symptoms of brain cancer, they can also be signs of other problems. It is possible to have migraines, anxiety, phobias, or even anorexia that mimic the same symptoms. If you have any concern, however, see a doctor and make sure.

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