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Neurological Cancer Symptoms

Neurological cancer doctor discussing symptoms with a patientNeurological cancer symptoms often vary from person to person. Some patients experience almost no symptoms at all, while other patients experience increasingly severe warning signs in the weeks leading up to their diagnosis.

Most neurological cancer symptoms are the direct result of the tumor placing pressure on the brain or spinal cord. These often get worse as the tumor grows larger and takes up more space within the skull or along the spine.

These general symptoms include:

  • Severe headaches that tend to be worse in the morning
  • Seizures or recurring, uncontrolled muscle spasms
  • Persistent fatigue and/or sluggishness
  • Personality changes or changes in emotional state (e.g. aggressiveness or confusion)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Other neurological cancer symptoms can be specific to the type of tumor. For instance, brain tumors that develop in the cerebellum can cause a loss of balance or fine motor skills, while tumors that develop in the cerebrum can cause muscle weakness, vision loss, and changes in speech, hearing, or memory. Tumors that develop in the pituitary gland can interfere with the body’s hormone production, which can cause hair loss, absence of menstruation in post-pubescent women, or a change in an individual’s sex drive. Tumors that develop in the temporal lobe or brain stem can cause blurred vision, lack of coordination when walking, or weakness on one side of the body.

Often, these symptoms are found to be the result of other, less serious conditions, such as an infection. However, symptoms that do not go away or get progressively worse should be promptly discussed with a neurologist. In the unlikely event that a neurological tumor is the cause of these symptoms, early diagnosis can increase a patient’s treatment options.

For more information on spine cancer, click here.

For a physician referral, please call (813) 844-2200.