Brain tumor symptoms

Brain tumor symptoms

| from Booking Health GmbH | Diagnosis & treatment

Neoplasms of the central nervous system are very dangerous and lead to death if they are not treated. Even benign tumors can compress vital brain centers, causing respiratory or circulatory failure. Therefore, if early signs of a brain tumor have appeared, it is necessary to be examined and treated. You can do it in Germany.

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Neoplasms of the central nervous system are very dangerous and lead to death if they are not treated. Even benign tumors can compress vital brain centers, causing respiratory or circulatory failure. Therefore, if early signs of a brain tumor have appeared, it is necessary to be examined and treated. You can do it in Germany. The healthcare sphere is highly developed in this country. The most modern, effective and safe methods of treating malformations of the central nervous system are used here.

Booking Health company can arrange a trip abroad for you to undergo examination and treatment.


  1. Brain tumor symptoms at the early stages
  2. What does a brain tumor headache feel like?
  3. What does a tumor of pituitary gland headache feel like?
  4. Focal brain tumor symptoms
  5. Secondary brain tumor symptoms
  6. Best hospitals for diagnostics and treatment
  7. Examination and treatment in Germany


Brain tumor symptoms at the early stages


All brain tumor symptoms in adults are divided into cerebral and focal ones. Cerebral symptoms develop as a result of cerebrospinal fluid outflow violation, displacement of the brain, its edema or compression by the tumor mass. Focal signs are caused by the destruction of some parts of the central nervous system responsible for certain functions.

Usually, there are no symptoms at an early stage of brain tumor. Malformation can be detected only by instrumental methods. Further, the early signs of a brain tumor are usually focal. Their character depends on the localization of cancerous formations. Signs of damage to various structures of the central nervous system are described below. Secondary syndromes appear later, when tumors reach large sizes.

Sometimes, early signs of brain tumor are cerebral. It can be headache, intoxication, disturbance of consciousness, etc. But such cases are rare. For example, if the neoplasm is located initially in the third ventricle and quickly blocks the outflow pathway of the cerebrospinal fluid, which leads to intracranial hypertension.

What does a brain tumor headache feel like?


Not always, but in most cases headaches with a brain tumor are noticed. Symptom arises as cerebral, less often – as a focal one. It can be focal if the neoplasm grows into the dura mater, which is rich in nerve endings, and the sensitive roots of the cranial nerves. In other cases, a headache with a brain tumor appears as a cerebral symptom.

It has to be mentioned that there are no nerve endings in the brain tissue itself. Therefore, this organ cannot hurt. That is, the tumor mass directly does not damage nerves and does not provoke pain except for the cases mentioned above.

In other patients, pain can be associated with such factors:

  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (liquor) inside the ventricles
  • Blood vessels paroxysm or compression
  • General intoxication syndrome (like with cold)

Brain tumor headaches that are connected to the increased intracranial pressure are called hypertension pains. They are peculiar with the bursting feeling. Patients complain that they feel pressure from the very inside of the sculp. Pain syndrome usually spreads over the whole head. Sometimes pain can be more expressed in temples, neck or forehead areas. Pain syndrome is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. It is more intensive in the morning, but can decrease and even completely disappear in the evening.

Headaches caused by the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricular system of the brain are called hydrocephalic. For them, the dependence on the position of the head is characteristic. The patient may take a forced position of the body, when the pain becomes less pronounced. Pain often has an episodic, paroxysmal character at the onset of the disease. Then it gradually strengthens and becomes permanent. In the later stages of the pathology, the pain syndrome may weaken.

Vascular headache develops as a result of a decrease in the lumen of the blood vessels feeding the membranes of the brain. This is due to their compression by the tumor mass or as the result of spasm (contraction of the smooth muscle structures of the walls of the arteries). Spasm occurs reflexively, as a result of irritation of sympathetic nerve fibers, as well as stretching of the ventricles of the brain.

To a certain extent, the nature of the pain syndrome may depend on the localization of the neoplasm. So, supratentorial tumors can be accompanied by not only diffuse, but also localized pain in one temple. When the neoplasm is located in the parietal lobe, pain sensations occur sporadically. Cancer of the occipital lobe can cause migraine-like pain.

What does a tumor of pituitary gland headache feel like?


Patients often ask what does a tumor of pituitary gland headache feel like. This depends on the stage of the pathological process, the size of the neoplasm and also on the course of its growth.

Most of all brain tumor symptoms do not appear at the early stages of the oncologic pituitary neoplasm. Tumor can be detected accidentally during different examinations. If early brain tumor symptoms do appear, then they are associated with the endocrine violations as long as pituitary gland is an endocrine gland and it produces hormones. First brain tumor symptoms depend on levels of hormones changes.

But with the further growth of the neoplasm, when an adenoma of the pituitary gland reaches large size, headache appears. It can be different. When the neoplasm spreads beyond the Turkish saddle (an anatomical deepening where the pituitary gland is located), visual disturbances appear. And with further growth of the adenoma, the third ventricle can be squeezed. As a result, there are painful feelings, characteristic of hypertensive syndrome.

Neoplasm can have invasive growth. So sometimes it sprouts into a cavernous sinus. In this case, the diffuse headache is of a pulsating nature. Often, patients indicate the eyes as a place of the main pain localization.

Focal brain tumor symptoms


With a brain tumor, symptoms primarily depend on the location of the neoplasm and the nature of its growth. They are caused mainly by mechanical compression of surrounding tissues. Brain tumor symptoms least depend on its histological type. The degree of malignancy of the neoplasm determines, to a greater extent, the time of appearance of these clinical signs and their severity. However, the symptoms themselves will be even when squeezing the same brain structures by both benign and malignant formations.

Let's talk about what brain tumor symptoms are caused by the neoplasm, depending on its location.

The central gyrus


If malformation appears in the central gyrus area brain tumor symptoms usually include sensory and motor violations. Paralysis and paresis are characteristic when tumors appear in its anterior part. They are spastic. In the case of damage to the posterior part of the central gyrus, sensory disorders occur.

By the kind of brain tumor symptoms, one can approximately assume the localization of the tumor. Because the lower part of the central gyrus is responsible for the innervation of the head, the middle part is responsible for the hands, and zone near the inter-hemispheric fissure – for the legs. As the tumor grows, more and more tissues are involved in the pathological process. Development of motor aphasia, which is speech disorder due to deterioration of muscle function, is possible.

Frontal lobe


Brain tumor symptoms can appear late. This often happens when tumor is located in the frontal lobe. Epileptical seizures are the first brain tumor symptoms when the tumor is located in the frontal lobe. Speech violations develop gradually as a result of muscle movement disorders. There are often violations of smelling. A person might feel no smells at all.

Often, brain tumor symptoms with localization of the neoplasm in the frontal lobe include mental disorders. They usually develop in the late stages of pathology. A person becomes foolish, cannot motivate his actions. Sometimes a person can be aggressive, otherwise he can be apathetic.

Brain tumor symptoms with frontal lobe damage are often associated with edema of the brain tissue and intracranial hypertension. These disorders appear earlier and are more severe.



Parietal lobe


Main brain tumor symptoms with parietal lobe location are:

  • Asteroognosis - impossibility of objects recognition by touch
  • The impossibility of perceiving the scheme of one's own body (a person does not know where different parts of his body are located)
  • Violations of higher functions of the cerebral cortex (writing, reading, counting)
  • Apraxia - the inability to carry out targeted movements while maintaining mobility in general
  • Sensory skin disorders
  • Amnestic aphasia - a person does not remember the names of objects, although he recognizes them and understands what they are intended for (when the tumor is localized on the border with the temporal lobe)

Brain tumor symptoms appear later when the malformation is located in the parietal lobe, in comparison with cancer location in other parts of nervous system.


Brain tumor symptoms


Temporal lobe


Brain tumor symptoms will include hallucinations if the neoplasm appeared in the temporal lobe of the brain.

These can be:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Flavoring

Other possible brain tumor symptoms of the corresponding location are:

  • Partial blindness, when right or left vision field disappears
  • Epileptiform seizures, accompanied by hallucinations
  • A person does not distinguish words that are pronounced, but can hear them
  • A patient complains of tinnitus with a brain tumor
  • The functions of the third or fifth cranial nerves are violated when they are compressed
  • Impaired mobility of the limbs and muscle spasm on the side of the lesion

If malignant brain tumor in the temporal lobe is detected the symptoms can be very dangerous, because the organ disposition develops quickly. As a result, brain wedging is possible.

Occipital lobe


Here are brain tumor symptoms that can appear if the neoplasm is located in the occipital lobe:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Appearance of non-objective images - spots, lightning, incomprehensible figures, etc.
  • Two-sided blindness
  • Narrowing of the fields of vision

Displacement of the brain does not develop, but intracranial pressure increase is possible. In presence of neoplasm in the occipital lobe, marked intracranial hypertension is usually observed.

Corpus callosum (Callous body)


Neurologically, it is very difficult to diagnose a tumor in the corpus callosum, as a tumor in the brain exhibits a very diverse variety of symptoms. Specific brain tumor symptoms of this localization do not exist.

Possible appearance of such clinical signs:

  • Mental disorders (as in the affection of the frontal lobe)
  • Memory impairment and loss of intelligence
  • Impossibility of coordinating actions of the right and left half of the body, as a result - impossibility of performing complex work

The majority of brain tumor symptoms of this location are defined only by carrying out the special tests (electroencephalography and neuropsychological methods).

Subcortical structures


Damage of the subcortical structures can be primary, when the tumor is initially localized in this part of the central nervous system, or secondary, with growth of glial tumors taking origin in the cerebral hemispheres.

Here are the symptoms of a brain tumor in such cases:

  • Abnormal sudden involuntary movements
  • Decreased muscle tone on one side of the body
  • Paralysis or paresis of the limb
  • Burning headaches
  • When the tumor grows into the inner capsule, vegetative disorders (disorders of the function of internal organs) are possible

If the neoplasm is located in the subcortical structures, the liquor hypertension syndrome develops very early, and the brain is displaced.

Brain ventricles


In most cases, focal brain tumor symptoms and signs are absent in the primary lesion of the third or lateral ventricles. Pathology has only cerebral manifestations. Early cerebrospinal fluid hypertension syndrome develops and it is often one-sided. The person takes the forced position of the body. A patient holds his/her head in such a way as to facilitate the outflow of liquor and reduce pain.

Very often brain tumor manifestations appear late if the neoplasm is in the third ventricle. Early stages of the disease proceed without clinical signs. In other cases, the first symptoms of a brain tumor can be a consequence of neuro-endocrine disorders.

In this case, the following signs can develop:

  • Progressive weight loss
  • Obesity
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Anorexia
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Violations of sexual function
  • Variations in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Weakness

Memory weakening and mental disorders are possible. Certain brain tumor symptoms depend on the neoplasm location and course of its growth. Cranial nerves are frequently compressed and their functions are violated.

Chiasmosellar region


These include adenomas of the pituitary gland, basal meningiomas, neoplasms of the optic nerves. More common are adenomas of the pituitary gland. They account for up to 7% of all oncologic formations of the central nervous system.

Often the only possible way to identify the symptoms of a brain tumor with localization in the pituitary gland is to reveal presence of endocrine disorders. Because the neoplasm often has small size and does not even go beyond the Turkish saddle.

Usually, brain tumor that is located in the hypothalamus, have such signs:

  • Dysmenorrhea - violation of the menstrual cycle
  • Infertility - the impossibility of conceiving a child, in this case due to a violation of the maturation of the egg
  • Erectile dysfunction in men (a violation of potency)

When the neoplasm reaches a large size, general cerebral signs of the brain tumor appear. There is a headache. Adenoma can sprout into the nasopharynx and the sinus of the sphenoid bone. In this case, difficulty in nasal breathing is noted. Protrusion of the eye-balls can develop.

In the presence of neoplasms, which grow from the intersection of the optic nerves, visual impairments develop. It can be irreversible due to their atrophy.



Brain tumor course in case of a neoplasm in the pineal gland location:

  • Impossibility of looking up
  • Impaired pupillary response to light
  • Violation of the act of convergence - when the eyes cannot rotate to each other, it is impossible to achieve convergence of the eyeballs

Brain tumor symptoms when the tumor is located in the epiphysis include liquor hypertension syndrome that develops early. Simultaneously, the syndrome can disappear. Remissions can have long duration. Their onset occurs because of the ventricles walls breakthrough with subsequent outflow of the cerebrospinal fluid.

Posterior cranial fossa


With a brain tumor, signs of increased intracranial pressure develop early if the tumor is localized in the posterior cranial fossa. There is a spontaneous nystagmus (rapid oscillatory movements of the eyeballs). At the same time, artificially induced nystagmus can be disturbed. Cranial nerves are often affected.

Neoplasm can grow into the brain stem. In the case of a brainstem tumor, the symptoms include:

  • Tonic convulsions
  • Fixed position of the head with a backward deflection
  • Decrease in the heart rate

If there are symptoms of a brain tumor that affects the stem, prognosis will be assessed as negative. Lethal outcome comes early as a result of breathing failure or heart failure.

Here are some signs of a brain tumor with localization in the posterior cranial fossa, in addition to those listed above:

  • Impaired coordination of movements
  • Shaky walk
  • Muscle weakness (usually one-sided, and with damage to the cerebellum worm - bilateral)
  • Imbalance and inability to keep the body in a static position
  • Forced position of the head with a slope towards the tumor

Secondary brain tumor symptoms


The main brain tumor syndromes that can develop in cancer formations of any localization:

  • Impaired cerebral circulation
  • Edema of the brain
  • Liquor-hypertensive syndrome (increased intracranial pressure)
  • Displacement and wedging of the brain

Impaired cerebral circulation


Blood circulation in the central nervous system may be disrupted for various reasons. This happens when:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Insufficiency of external respiration during epileptic seizure
  • Excessive blood supply to the tumor and "stealing" it from other parts of the brain
  • Compression of blood vessels by the tumor mass (only in the case of rapidly growing neoplasms)

Brain tumor manifestations appear in the case of development of hypoxia of the structures of the central nervous system and expressed by psychomotor agitation or apathy. A person may have mood swings. Depression of consciousness is also possible. There are vegetative disorders - lability of pulse and arterial pressure, sweating. Memory and mental concentration are deteriorated in such patients. Dizziness with a brain tumor may occur.

Edema of the brain


With edema of the brain, an increase in the amount of intercellular fluid occurs. As a result, the volume of tissue increases. Specific brain tumor symptoms in the case of edema formation are absent. The appearance of signs characteristic of intracranial hypertension are possible though. They will be described below. It is possible to determine the edema of the brain with the help of instrumental diagnostics.

Intracranial hypertension


When the outflow of the cerebrospinal fluid from the ventricles of the brain is disrupted, intracranial pressure increases. Early brain tumor symptoms in the case of a liquor hypertension syndrome may be detected only during an objective examination. When examining the fundus, edema of the optic disc is observed. But not always hypertension develops gradually. It can occur suddenly.

Then the syndrome manifests itself with:

  • Headache
  • Impaired mobility of eyeballs
  • Blurred vision when changing the position of the head

Gradually, a person loses vision because of nerves atrophy. On this basis headache usually decreases. During the decompensation phase depression of the consciousness appears as well as coma. Death is possible in case of brain wedging.

Dislocation and wedging of the brain


With the beginning of the wedging of the brain, there is pain in the back of the head. There are stiff neck muscles. There are disorders of consciousness. Then the function of external respiration is disrupted.

If a person is not given emergency help, the wedging of the brain ends in a lethal outcome.



Best hospitals for diagnostics and treatment


Treatment of brain tumors is usually carried out in the departments of neurosurgery or interventional neuroradiology. The patient remains under the supervision of neurologists and neurosurgeons during his stay in the hospital. Leading hospitals that offer treatment of brain neoplasms are:

  1. University Hospital Muenster, Department of Neurosurgery
  2. Charite University Hospital Berlin, Department of Adult and Pediatric Neurosurgery
  3. Beta Klinik Bonn, Department of Neurosurgery and Interventional Neuroradiology
  4. University Hospital Freiburg, Department of Adult and Pediatric Neurosurgery
  5. University Hospital Frankfurt am Main, Department of Adult and Pediatric Neurosurgery

The cost of treatment of brain tumors depends on the diagnosis, the chosen therapeutic technique, and the hospital itself. Estimated prices for various treatment methods are:

  1. Surgical resection of brain tumor – from €6,685
  2. Non-invasive removal of neoplasms with the Cyberknife system – from €25,245
  3. Non-invasive removal of neoplasms with the Gamma knife system – from €10,935
  4. MRI-guided laser ablation – from €57,985
  5. Proton therapy – from €45,000
  6. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy – from €24,500
  7. Neurological rehabilitation after completion of the main course of treatment – from €540 per day

Examination and treatment in Germany


When the first signs of a brain tumor appear, you should see a doctor and undergo examination. Diagnosing central nervous system diseases requires a high level of professionalism. High-quality and high-precision equipment is required to detect neoplasms of the brain and confirm the diagnosis. All of these are available in German hospitals. Thanks to Booking Health, you can undergo examination and treatment in this country.

In Germany, the most modern methods of diagnostics are used. In addition, the latest treatments for tumors, both benign and malignant, are available here.

Thanks to Booking Health, you can choose a hospital and book your treatment at the best price. In addition, our specialists can select the best medical institution for you, taking into account:

  • Diagnostic and treatment success rates
  • Level of the hospital (university, academic, etc.)
  • Specialization of the hospital
  • Availability of innovative equipment
  • Availability of innovative drugs
  • Participation in clinical trials
  • Other factors that are important to you

With Booking Health, you will not only receive quality medical care in Germany, but also save up to 70% of your money due to the absence of additional fees and unnecessary procedures. We will provide you with all the necessary help with receiving invitation for treatment, obtaining a visa, booking flight, transfer, and accommodation, translation services, etc. All you need to do is to focus on restoring your health.


Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!

Authors: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova, Dr. Sergey Pashchenko


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